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Keeping pets safe in summer

As the weather heats up take a look at our top tips to ensure your pet stays safe and happy during warm temperatures.

Download this advice sheet as a printable PDF

All animals

  • Always provide shade and fresh water at all times.  Keep an eye on your pet’s whereabouts in your garden or home as they do not always have the sense to move in to cooler areas themselves.
  • Groom longer haired animals regularly to remove excess hair.
  • Animals can suffer from sunburn too so apply a pet friendly sun cream to sensitive areas or areas with sparse/ fine fur such as noses and the tips of the ears. Animals, particularly cats,  with areas of white fur are more susceptible to sun damage.

 

Dogs

  • Frozen treats, such as flavoured ice cubes or Kongs filled with frozen food are a great way to keep pets cool while keeping their minds busy.
  • Unlike humans, dogs lose heat through their pads and by panting so providing a paddling pool is an effective way to let them cool off.
  • Never leave your dog in a car in warm weather. Even if it is a relatively cool 22°c outside, the internal temperature of a car can reach 47°c within one hour. Find out what to do if you spot a dog in a hot car here.
  • Avoid exercising your pet during the warmest parts of the day, ensure you have a supply of water with you and where possible, exercise them in cooler areas such as woodland. Tarmac pavements can become extremely hot on your dog’s pads.  

 

Cats

  • Be aware of open windows in your home  that cats can fall out of.  
  • Provide water in several locations around your house to encourage them to drink more regularly.

 

Rabbits & Guinea Pigs

  • Fruit and vegetables with a high water content such as apples, celery and cucumber are a good way of keeping small animals hydrated but feeding too much can cause stomach upset. 
  • Avoid putting your rabbit or guinea pig in a run during the warmest parts of the day.
  • Check rabbits and guinea pigs are clean and free from signs of fly strike twice daily during warm weather. Fly strike is caused by flies laying their eggs in dirty fur and the maggots attacking your pet. If you spot any signs of maggots on your pet contact your vet immediately.

 

Field Animals

  • Avoid putting the animal out to graze during the hottest parts of the day if possible and ensure shade is available in the form of trees or a field shelter.
  • Ice cubes containing frozen fruit are a fun, cooling treat.
  • Provide a salt lick to replace nutrients lost through sweating.

Be aware of heatstroke

All pets can suffer from heatstroke and in severe cases the results can be fatal. Some animals are less able to regulate their own body temperature such as older or younger animals, animals with thick, heavy coats and short, flat faces such as Bulldogs and Persian cats. Some medications can also make pets more prone to heatstroke.

Signs that your pet may be suffering from heat stroke include:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Dark red gums and tongue and ‘glassy’ eyes
  • Lethargy , drowsiness or uncoordinated movements
  • Collapsing, vomiting and diarrhoea

If you suspect your pet may be suffering from heatstroke, move them in to a shaded area, apply room temperature (not cold) water to their skin, encourage them to drink slowly and contact your vet immediately. 

Cats