Beat the heat: Top tips to keep your furry friends safe and happy this summer

Dec 06, 2023
Ensure your pets thrive this summer by getting them ready for the sizzling days ahead! Source: Getty Images.

Welcome to the sunny days of summer! While enjoying the great outdoors with your furry pals is fantastic, the rising heat poses potential risks for our beloved animals. As weather experts predict a scorching end to the year, it’s crucial to gear up and ensure your pets are well-prepared for a safe and enjoyable summer.

A hot summer is no laughing matter for our four-legged friends, and being a responsible pet owner is paramount for their well-being. To guarantee your pets’ safety and happiness this summer, here are some essential tips to follow.

Keeping them safe

Along with never, ever keeping your pet inside a locked car, owners are also warned to limit the amount of exercise animals do on hotter days and to keep it to the early morning or late evening. It’s also good to know that shade isn’t always effective on a hot day as it moves with the sun, meaning your pet could be getting burnt without you knowing.

And while it might be tempting to shave long-haired pets to give their skin more room to breathe, it’s actually the worst thing for them. Not only is a pet’s coat naturally designed to keep them cool during summer but it also stops them from getting sunburnt.

Feel free to trim longer coats but always leave a full inch of hair to protect your pet from getting burnt, while those with lighter or shorter coats should have pet-friendly sunscreen applied every three to four hours on their bellies, ears and nose.

Meanwhile, animals with flat faces – such as pugs and Persian cats – can’t pant as effectively, making them more susceptible to heat stroke. Owners of these breeds, along with those that are elderly, overweight or suffering from heart or lung diseases should be kept in cool, air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Knowing the signs

Overheating is dangerous for all animals, which is why knowing the signs is so important to stop the situation before it becomes dire.

Excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, change in gum colour, stupor, or even collapse are among the big signifiers. Symptoms could also include seizures, bloody diarrhoea, and vomiting, along with increased body temperatures in more severe situations.

Cooling them down

Pets don’t react to heat the same way that humans do. For instance, dogs primarily sweat through their feet and cool themselves down through panting. This means that the regular ways humans usually cool themselves down, such as ceiling or pedestal fans, won’t work the same way for pets and shouldn’t be relied on to fully bring temperatures down.

One of the best ways to help an overheating pet is to cool their insides down first by providing them with ample cold water and even DIY pup-sicles for dogs. You can also give them ice to lick or pop a few ice cubes in their water – so long as you monitor that they don’t drink it too fast and become bloated.

Meanwhile, wrapping your pets in cooling body wraps, vests or mats are also great options, as these products can be soaked in cool water or contain cooling gels and can stay cool (but often dry) for days. And if they start showing signs of overheating, try putting cool, wet clothes on their necks, armpits or behind their hind legs, or gently wetting ears and paws with cool water.

As we soak up the summer sun, let’s make sure our furry friends enjoy the festivities safely. Beyond the joys of outdoor adventures, it’s vital to be mindful of the rising temperatures that can pose risks to our beloved pets.

Remember, responsible pet ownership is the key to their well-being. By following the essential tips provided, you can navigate this scorching season with confidence, keeping your four-legged friends cool, comfortable, and content. As you relish the sunshine, let’s make this summer a season of joy for both pets and owners alike.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal requirements or existing conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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