Keeping pets safe during the hot summer months

We’ve all been longing for idyllic, warm summer days, but it is important to remember that heat can present some challenges for our dogs and yes even our sun worshipping cats. Here’s some advice to keeping your pets happy, healthy and cool during the summer months.

Never leave your animals in parked cars – even with the windows open!

In summer your car heats up very quickly, for example a 30°C day, the temperature inside your car can reach 39°C in less than 5 minutes and in 30 minutes it goes up to 49°C.
Dogs and cats don’t sweat as we do and rely on panting to cool down. In a hot car, even with the windows slightly open, panting is not enough to keep their body temperature within a safe range, the scary fact: within the briefest amount of time they will overheat suffer irreparable brain damage and then die.

If you find a dog locked in a car in distress, please call the Police or your local SPCA immediately. Do not smash the window as this puts both you and the dog at risk.

Only exercise your pets in the coolest parts of the day.

It is important to only exercise your pet early in the morning or in the evening throughout the summer. Avoid long walks and prolonged sun exposure. Many cases of heat stroke in dogs are due to strenuous physical exercise on warm days, so it is important that you pay attention to your pet’s needs and avoid overexertion. Dogs with squishy faces, French Bulldogs and Pugs, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot breathe or pant as effectively as dogs with longer noses. Take extra care with these breeds when exercising in the summer.

Avoid blistered feet.

Remember that animal’s feet are sensitive too. If the pavement or sand is too hot for us it is also too hot for them. Use the 5 second rule, place the back of your hand on the pavement for five seconds if it’s too hot to keep your hand there – then it’s too hot for your pets sensitive feet.

Keeping them cool.

Provide shade for both cats and dogs. To help them keep cool provide them with plenty of fresh water, cooled down with ice cubes. Dogs love frozen treats, fill an ice cream container with water and a few treats and freezer. Provide dogs with a shallow kid’s pool that they can easily get in and out of. Be aware that pets can get sunburnt – there are pet friendly sun screens available for ears and noses at your local vet.

Signs of heatstroke.
Be aware of excessive panting, drooling, weakness, lethargy, vomiting, dark red tongue and gums, rapid heart rate and seizures.

What to do if you are concerned.

Move your pet to a cool area, apply cold (not freezing) water all over the body and place cold wet towels on their head, neck and chest. Make your way to your nearest Veterinary Clinic without delay.