As the temperatures soared in late July, so did cases of dogs left in hot cars and one poor dog was left to fry on the hottest day of the year! Sadly he died, despite the best efforts of those people who tried to save him.
The RSPCA and other animal welfare charities only recently launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of not keeping your pets cool in the summer heat and despite warnings dogs are still being left in hot cars!
Let me ask dog owners one question. Have you ever walked barefoot on a hot pavement? If not, please try, since that is what your dog feels each time he is walked in the midday sun!
We have strict guidelines with regard to our pet care services, in that dogs are never exercised during periods of intense heat. They are walked early morning and late evening. When the mercury rises, dogs are encouraged to settle on a stone floor and in the coolest part of the house.
Pet Sitters are always careful to follow these simple procedures.
If your dog does start to show signs of overheating, put a towel under the cold water tap, wringing it out before placing it over your dog. This is an excellent tip for bringing down your dogs temperature as explained by our local veterinarian. Our German Shepherd Dog absolutely loves playing with water, hence we have great fun with the hose on a hot sunny day and placing a paddling pool in the garden will prove to be a real hit with your canine friend.
These can be purchased quite cheaply and if you do not have stone floors in your kitchen a cooling mat is a great alternative. Just ensure that you buy the correct size for your dog in order that they receive the full benefit.
Like our cats, yours will probably gravitate to a favourite area of the house, so make that area cool by including a fan or air conditioning unit.
Did you know that even your pets can suffer sunburn, especially white dogs and cats and with this comes the increased risk of cancer. Especially dogs with fine hair, like hairless breeds such as The Chinese Crested or The Mexican Hairless Dog.
White dogs are particularly susceptible to sunburn, just like blond haired people have a greater propensity to burn. It is therefore important that you apply a dog/cat sunscreen and use a quality one. It should be applied to the nose, ears, groin and any area that is normally pink. Many human sunscreens can be toxic to your pet, especially those that contain PABA or zinc oxide, so if in doubt, ask your vet.
Ensure that hutches are removed from full sun and if possible, check them regularly and bring them inside to the coolest area of your house.
Fans can be used, but ensure that it is pulling the cool air in and not blowing against it.
Ensure that water is changed regularly and the hutches are kept clean. Fly strike is a real problem in rabbits and keeping their area clean is essential.
Make sure that water bowls are filled regularly giving your dogs/cats fresh cold water throughout the day and you can include some ice cubes to keep it cool. We always have a few water bowls around the house, in case one is spilt.
We are lucky enough to have a feature pond in a garden, which is wonderful for the birds in hot weather. You may not have a pond, so why not fill a large bowl with water and watch the wildlife as they use it to keep cool.
We all look forward to the summer, but the heat can prove fatal to our furry family. Remember to keep them cool and it will be far more enjoyable for both pet and owner.
If you are looking for tips to keep your pets healthy in the hot summer heat, this guide is for you, if in doubt however, always consult your local veterinarian, who are sure to have leaflets and answer any questions on heat related problems.