Tips to help keep your pet safe in the summer!
Never leave your pet alone in a car - A study by Stanford University discovered that when it is about 70 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature can climb to over 115 degrees within an hour.
Studies also show that cracking the windows and parking in the shade has little effect on a vehicle’s internal temperature.
A dog’s temperature is usually around 102 degrees, they can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death. As a result, make sure that if you are intending to go out in the car and you are unable to take your dog with you once you have parked, leave them at home!
Provide your pet with shade – Don't prevent your pet from going out on a hot day, let them discover the weather for themselves if they are usually let out during the day they won’t understand why you are restricting them.
If there is no shade in your garden, an easy way of providing some is by draping a sheet or blanket over a couple of garden chairs.
Remember! While it may be obvious to you now, it is easy to forget that the shade will move as the sun moves, so when you consider the locations of hutches or aviaries, for example, make sure that they are away from direct sunlight! If this is not possible, drape a damp towel over the cage to help cool their habitat down
Provide your pet with lots of water – Just as you do, you will find that your pet is drinking more in the heat, so make sure you provide multiple water sources during hot weather.
Horses are particularly thirsty animals; ordinarily, they will drink from 5 to 15 gallons of water and, on hot days, may even consume four times that amount so be prepared! Reportedly, an average size horse can drink 25 gallons of water per day when the temperature is above 22˚C so multiple sources of water are required, particularly if your horse is part of a group.
Check all water sources several times a day if possible to check whether they have been emptied or even knocked over, and keep on refreshing them.
Do make sure that any animal that is overheating does not gulp water to fast and to excess. This may lead to gastrointestinal issues, vomiting in small pets and colic in horses.
Some animals refuse to drink if their water is not fresh and clean, and the heat is likely to encourage dust and other contaminants to settle and might make the water look or taste different.
Exercise your pet during cooler parts of the day – the middle of the day is usually the warmest so, in order to help your pet feel less overwhelmed by the heat try and restrict walks, play time or turning out to early mornings or evenings.
Remember that the ground heats up during the day so, if possible, walk in the shade where your pet is less likely to suffer damage to their paws.
In addition, try and make sure they are protected from the sun by using sunscreen – some sunscreens are poisonous to pets but those for babies and children are generally OK, however, always ask advice before using any human product on your pet.
Watch out for potential hazards – Just as sunscreen might be poisonous there are lots of things that come out in the summer that can be hazardous to your pet.
For example, some dogs are bad swimmers so be aware of where your pet is when they are in the vicinity of larger areas of water.
Insects are often a problem to animals in the heat so make sure that you have your pet treated for fleas, ticks, and worms regularly and be aware of stinging and biting insects that might cause other issues such as flystrike, and indeed, areas that might be treated to prevent pests using pesticides etc.
Symptoms of heatstroke include heavy panting, profuse salivation, rapid pulse, very red gums/tongue, lethargy, lack of coordination, reluctance/inability to rise after collapsing, vomiting and diarrhoea. If you think your pet has heatstroke get to the vet as soon as possible. The condition can cause permanent organ damage and even death.
If you would like to learn more about how to keep your pet safe in summer and what to do if you expect that your pet has heatstroke, visit our dedicated advice page for more information!