WITH temperatures set to hit a record 34C leading vet charity PDSA is advising to owners on how to keep their pets cool and calm in the heatwave.
PDSA vet, Paul Manktelow, says:
1) Never leave pets in hot cars, conservatories or caravans. Not even for a couple of minutes. Even on a mild day the temperatures can rise incredibly quickly causing our pets to overheat. Within a very short space of time, they can develop heatstroke, which can be fatal
2) Provide lots of clean, fresh water. Check your pet’s water bowls or bottles at least twice a day and regularly refill with of cool water.
3) Exercise your pet at cooler times in the day. Take walks in the mornings or evenings when temperatures are lower, and avoid the midday heat. Be extra vigilant of any flat-faced, overweight pets, or very fluffy dogs who may struggle even more to keep themselves cool.
4) Ensure your pet has access to shade. Constant access to cool shaded areas is a must for hot days, and it’s also important to keep hutches and cages out of direct sunlight. Move indoor cages away from windows and make sure your other pets can get out of direct sunlight when they need to.
5) Protect your pet with pet-safe sunscreen. These are available from all good pet stores and can be used on areas of thin fur. It is particularly important in white pets, and on areas such as the nose and ear tips.
6) Regular trims. Keeping your pet’s fur neat and trimmed may stop them from getting too hot. This is particularly important for dogs with very hairy feet. Dogs lose heat through their foot pads so keep hair in between these pads nice and short.
7) Take care when travelling. If you’re going on a journey in the car, make sure there is plenty of fresh air and the temperature of the car is cool. Make regular stops and offer your pet water frequently. Never let your dog put their head out of the car window and never leave them in a parked car.
8) Be careful when enjoying barbecues. It’s not uncommon for dogs to swallow corn cobs and then need them surgically removed from their stomach or gut. Kebab skewers are also particularly dangerous. Clean up and keep dangerous items away from your four-legged friend. Also watch out for alcoholic drinks and glass bottles
9) Check rabbits for flystrike. This is a serious maggot infestation that can be fatal. During summer months rabbits should be checked underneath (checking their bottoms) at least twice a day for fly eggs and uncleaned poo. Keep their back end clean by wiping gently with a clean damp cloth, removing any faeces and trimming the fur if necessary. Apply a preventive product regularly to stop flies laying eggs. Keep hutches nice and clean too, and if you spot any maggots on your rabbit then take them to the vets immediately; this is an emergency.
10) With all of these tips in mind, it’s important to watch out for signs of heat stroke. Excessive panting, dribbling, unusual behaviour, disorientation and a bright red tongue or gums can quickly escalate to fatal collapse. If you see any signs of heatstroke, call your vet immediately.
If your pet has simply overheated in the sun, drape them with a cool damp towel and move them into the shade. Change and wet towels regularly, making sure they aren’t trapping heat, and keep cooling your pet until their breathing has settled.
If you believe they are suffering from heatstroke, then they will need to be seen by a vet even if they have appeared to cool down.
For more advice and information on keeping pets happy and healthy visit: www.pdsa.org.uk