Summer is here and you are undoubtedly excited about the hot weather and long days of sunshine. Your pet is too and is delighted by the prospect of fun outdoor activities with their human family. However, summer also creates a number of challenges, not least because not all animals are well equipped to handle the hot weather. As a responsible and loving pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do everything that you can to keep your furry friend safe, happy, and cool during the summer season.
To help you do this, here are our top hot weather tips.
Pets benefit from access to fresh, cool water just as much as humans do, and you must make sure that your animal is drinking enough when the temperature rises, otherwise they could be at risk of dehydration, which can be deadly. Try and monitor how much your pet is drinking and passing urine, and make sure that they have access to water at all times. You could consider putting their bowl on a cooling mat or even placing ice cubes into the water to make it especially refreshing. It is also valuable to be aware of the signs of dehydration, which include sunken eyes, loss of skin elasticity, dry nose and not passing urine so that you can seek veterinary assistance immediately if you think your pet might be affected.
Even if your pet can tolerate the heat for a certain amount of time, it is important that they know that they have somewhere that they can escape too when it gets too much. If they live predominantly outside, or even if you are spending time together in the garden or wider great outdoors, make sure that your pet has access to shade. Indoors, animals love to find a room with a tiled floor to relax on because the tiles remain cool and comforting. Bathrooms and utility spaces are a popular retreat for pets in the summer, so be sure to place water bowls and bedding in these rooms for them to enjoy too.
If you have ever walked outside barefoot in the summer months, you will know just how hot the ground can get. These temperatures can make it extremely painful for you to walk outside barefoot and your pet is no different. In fact, many veterinarians report paw burns as one of the most common summer injuries. Hold your hand to the ground before you take your pet out. If you can’t comfortably hold it there for at least 5 seconds, it is too hot for your furbaby to walk on it. Many owners switch to walking their pets early in the morning and late at night so that the ground is cooler, and to avoid exercising their pet in the highest temperatures which can be unpleasant and downright dangerous.
Contrary to what many people believe, having a thick coat won’t necessarily cause your pet to overheat in the summer. Their coat is actually very clever in that it will enable cooler air to circulate closer to their skin to regulate their body temperature, but this is only possible if their coat is in good condition and tangle-free. Any matting can trap heat and make your pet warmer. Make sure that you brush out their coat on a regular basis, or you could even consider booking them in with a professional groomer for a comprehensive grooming session. You can also use brushing sessions as an opportunity to check for parasites such as ticks which are more common in the summer months. Spotting them early could prevent your pet from becoming sick, although this doesn’t replace ensuring that your furry friend has the appropriate parasite preventatives issued as directed by your vet.
Most owners have heard that it is dangerous to leave animals unattended in a vehicle during the summer months, but it can be just as deadly for pets to be left in conservatories, trailers, and outbuildings too. This is because it is easy to underestimate the temperature inside. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 100-degrees in a matter of minutes. Meanwhile, on a 90-degree day, the temperature inside a car, trailer, or outbuilding could get as high as 109 degrees in just 10 minutes. Leave your pet at home wherever possible, but if you do need to travel with them, be sure to take them out of the car when you leave. Also, pay particular attention at home to avoid shutting them into outbuildings or rooms with lots of glass which can heat up extremely quickly.
For more hot weather tips for your pet, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced veterinary team today.