At this time of year I always worry about our pets in the heat. People love to walk in the sunshine and often take their dogs out in the heat of the day, not realising that the experience can at least be uncomfortable, if not dangerous, for their canine companion. Also our smaller animals in cages and runs can suffer unnoticed. So here is a list of tips I hope will help you keep your furry ones safe in summer.
- Avoid the heat of the day. Walk your dog in the early morning or the evening
- Pavements get hot. Choose walks with grassy or muddy paths to be gentle on paws
- Pick a cool spot. Walk in woodlands or by water, where your dog can cool down in safe streams, lakes, etc
- Salt water can dehydrate your dog. Don’t allow him to drink seawater and clean rinse him in freshwater after a swim so that he can’t lick salt off his fur
- Dogs must pant. Do not walk your dog with a restrictive muzzle or other apparatus that forces the dog’s mouth closed. Dogs must pant to cool themselves! Basket-style muzzles are safe to use as they allow your dog to open their mouth and pant
- Vulnerable dogs. Be extra cautious with flat-nosed and hairy breeds, puppies and elderly dogs
- Paddling. Put a paddling pool in the garden just for your dog to cool himself. Supervise play
- Flooring. Give your dog access to cool tiled floors to lie on
- Beds. Raised dog beds/kennels/hutches/cages are cooler as air circulates beneath. Plywood and bricks could be a quick diy fix!
- A wet towel draped over a cage or hutch will make it cooler
- Open windows at the top of the house to allow hot air to rise out
- Downstairs is likely to be cooler than upstairs so consider rearranging your pet’s sleeping quarters if necessary
- If it is safe to do so open doors and windows to allow a cooling draught
- Consider purchasing a cool jacket or bandana for your dog or drape him in a cold towel or t-shirt
- Moisten your dog’s fur at the ears, tummy, “under-arms”, where heat can be evaporated away from the body most effectively (dog’s only have sweat glands in their paws and not on the rest of the body as humans do so they find reducing their body temperature much more difficult)
- Wrap a cold towel around your dog’s paws
- Consider using rubbing alcohol soaked on cotton wool to moisten your dog’s paw pads as it has a lower boiling point than water. Use sparingly to avoid drying the pads
- Place hutches and runs in a shaded area of the garden. Consider bringing in your outdoor animals at the heat of the day, if it is cooler indoors
- Make sure horses, sheep and other grazers and browsers always have access to shade and water
- Apply high-factor suncream to pale exposed skin of any mammal who will be in the sunshine to avoid sunburn
- Always provide plentiful water, in multiple containers in case one is spilled or used up. Take water and a bowl on walks
- Make dog-lollies. You could freeze home-made stock, stuff a Kong with kibble and water before freezing it, discover a recipe online….
- Give your small pets a frozen water bottle to lean on, or just to lower the surrounding air temperature in the cage. Special mats are also available to purchase
- Mist animals with water, if it is appropriate for their species. Always avoid spraying their face
- Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion: Rapid and heavy breathing, increased heart rate and salivation, vomiting and diarrhoea. Steadily cool and rehydrate your pet. If left untreated heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke which can be fatal. Contact your vet if you have any doubts.
I hope this is useful for you and your pets and let me know what tips you liked best. Do you have any other suggestions? Please share them below
Until next time, Happy Training! Love from Lucy x