With the summer heat well and truly upon us, keeping cool is a priority, don’t forget how important it is to keep your pet cool too.
Signs of heat stress
In summer heat your pet can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke, these conditions are very serious and could cause your pet to die. It’s a good idea to know the signs and symptoms of heat stress; these can include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.
If your pet does become overheated:
- You need to immediately lower their body temperature. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water over their body to gradually lower their core body temperature
- Apply cold towels or ice packs to your pet’s head, neck, and chest only
- Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Most importantly, get them to a vet immediately.
Caring for your pet in the heat
Never leave your pet in a parked car. Even if you have the windows down or park in the shade, pets can suffocate and it is the number one cause of heat stroke.
Always make sure there is plenty of fresh water available. It is good idea to have more than one bowl of water, in case one is knocked over.
If your pet is outside make sure they have a cool spot to rest.
If inside, keep air circulating with a fan or turn on your air conditioner.
Even though it is hot, it is still important for your pet to exercise but avoid activity during the hottest part of the day. Make sure you take your pet for a walk when the day is cooler, ideally early morning.
When you take your pet for a walk be careful as hot pathways and sandy beaches can burn sensitive paws. Always take water and wear a hat and sunscreen.
It is okay for your pet to eat less during the hot weather as overeating can also cause overheating.
Remember that short haired pets and those with pink skin can sunburn just like we do. Make sure shade is provided and limit their exposure to the sun.
Small animals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, rats and mice are highly susceptible to heat stress which is often fatal. Move their cage to an area that is cool, shaded and well ventilated. It may be necessary to move their cage indoors on very hot days.