Keeping your pets cool in hot weather

Exercise

There is a simple trick to help determine if it is too hot to exercise your dog and that is to remove your shoes and walk on the pavement barefoot.  If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your dog.

Dogs can suffer heatstroke within minutes and the signs include excessive panting and collapse.  It is important to remember that once a dog shows signs like these, the damage can be already done, which is why we must prevent it.

Keeping a dog cool

  • Keep a cold damp towel under your dog if possible and keep replenishing it as it dries.
  • Ensure that he has access to cold water throughout the day, keeping it topped up at all times.
  • Only walk your dog first thing in the morning and last thing at night
  • Remember that flat-faced breeds really suffer in the heat, so be vigilant and ensure that there breathing is not affected.
  • Try making cooling treats by putting their favorite food in ice-cubes.
  • NEVER leave your dog in a car during hot days.  Open windows will not prevent them from overheating.
  • A paddling pool will help your dog cool down and what dog doesn’t enjoy a good splash
  • Provide a cooling mat, but ensure that it is purchased from a reputable store and follow instructions for use.

Hutches

It isn’t just your dog that can suffer heatstroke.  Outdoor hutches should be moved inside if possible, to a cool part of the house.  Free running on cold tiles will help them to keep cool and if this isn’t possible, move them to a shaded part of the garden and use a cold damp towel to drape over their hutch/cage.

Also, be sure to keep replenishing their bottles with cold water and check on them regularly throughout the day.

Horses and livestock

It is important that your horses and livestock have access to shade and freshwater, which can evaporate during hot weather.

Fans can be provided to cool livestock, ensuring that they receive adequate ventilation.  Sprinklers will also as a coolant during extreme temperatures.

Wildlife

Wildlife can also struggle during severe heat, so leaving water in your garden will help to quench their thirst and keep them cool.

Birdbaths are a welcome attraction for birds and will help them to clean their feathers, before finding a sunny space to dry.

Finding regular food can be a struggle for wildlife during hot periods and some wildlife trusts recommend leaving food for the hedgehogs, such as tinned cat or dog food (not fish).  Specialised food can be purchased from wildlife food suppliers, but NEVER feed them milk, since this can cause severe tummy upset.

Cats

As with dogs, cats should have access to fresh cool water.  While they love the warmth,  intense heat can see them can suffer so keep them out of conservatories.

White cats are particularly susceptible to sunburn, so apply suncream to their ears and faces and when the sun is at its strongest, keep them indoors.  They can also benefit from a cooling mat and if they do show signs of heatstroke :

  • excessive panting
  • increased heartbeat
  • lethargy
  • panting

If you are worried about any animal, please seek veterinary treatment immediately.