Keeping your pet cool in summer
Did you know dogs and cats can get sunburn? Or that panting is not as effective for cooling down short-nosed dog breeds?
Summer heat and sunshine are serious issues for our dogs and cats and they depend on us to keep them protected during these hotter months.
Here are a few tips to keep your pet comfortable in the heat this summer...
Animals, just like people, need sun protection on their sensitive areas such as the tips of their ears, their noses and other areas exposed to sunlight. Pets with pink skin or light coats can be vulnerable. Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Boxers, Bull Terriers, German Short-haired Pointers, and French Bulldogs are among the breeds prone to sunburn. Just be sure to use pet-friendly sunscreen!
As we get closer and closer to summer, our cars can become unbearable in the heat. The temperature inside the car can rise to well over 40degrees, even if the outside air temperature is much lower. Parking in the shade and opening windows will help slightly but always best to leave them at home where possible if the alternative is to leave them in a hot car.
Avoid hot surfaces:
Hot pavements, beaches, roads, footpaths and other surfaces can severely injure your pet's paw pads. To test to see if the ground is too hot for your pet, lay the palm of your hand flat onto the surface - can you keep it on there comfortably for 5 seconds or more? If not, the surface is too hot and can damage your pets paws. The rule of thumb is simple: If the surface is too hot for you to handle, it's too hot for your dog.
Walking your Dog:
Walk your dog earlier in the morning or later in the evenings to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Heatstroke, dehydration and hot surfaces are all a risk when walking your pet in the peak summer sun.
Swimming is a great way for your pet to cool off in summer. On a walk, can you find a stretch of water for them to play in? Swimming and playing fetch in water is fantastic exercise for your dog without the risk of them overheating in the sun.
Panting is cooling:
It's well known that dogs don't sweat and that they pant in order to eliminate heat through respiration. Short-nosed dog such as Pugs and English Bulldogs tend to be more vulnerable to heat stroke. It's incredibly important for your dog to stay hydrated in warm weather. If your dog overheats, there are a number of indicators to be aware of. Heat stroke signs include excessive or exaggerated panting, lethargy, weakness, drooling, high fever, dark red gums, rapid heartbeat, unresponsiveness to surroundings and vomiting.
shaving and grooming:
A dog's coat insulates them from the heat, so shaving isn't the best strategy. That being said, trimming a long-haired dog's coat, particularly if it hangs around his legs, is acceptable. Vets suggest that owners should brush their dogs more often in the summer as well, which can thin out the thick coat and get rid of hair that your pet is shedding.
Carry Water With You:
Be sure you always carry water and a bowl of some kind with you on a walk or when you are out and about with your pet. Dehydration is a common issue in the summer heat for our dogs. Be sure you always have a clean water supply handy should your pet need a drink.