As the warmer weather is approaching, so is the increased risk of overheating in our pets. Whether your furry friend is a long-haired pooch or a short-haired mog, we’ve put together our top summer tips to help you keep them cool.
How to keep dogs cool
- Make sure that a full bowl of fresh drinking water is always available for your pooch.
- It’s a good idea to carry a bottle of water and a drinking bowl with you when on walks.
- Watch your dog for signs of overheating, including heavy panting and loss of energy. If you recognise these signs when on a walk; stop, find a shaded spot, and give them some water.
- Never leave your dog alone in a hot car, even with the windows open. If it’s 22℃ outside, it can reach 47℃ inside a car within 60 minutes. If you do see a dog alone in a car on a hot day, call 999.
- Make dog cooling tasty treats by freezing ice cubes with your dog’s favourite food inside. Alternatively, stuff a Kong and pop it in the freezer for the same effect.
- Be extra cautious with short-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs such as bulldog breeds (e.g. English and French bulldogs), boxers, and pugs, as well as older dogs and those that are overweight. These dogs can get heatstroke simply by running around. Walk them at cooler times of the day, like early mornings or evenings.
- However much your pooch loves to sunbathe, it’s best that you keep them shaded in the summer heat. Avoid walking on hot pavement or tarmac – you can check by placing your hand on it for a few seconds. Dogs can get severe burns on their paws by touching the hot surface for just a few seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand – it’s too hot for their paws!
- To keep cool on walks, use a cooling coat.
- Don’t wrap your dog in a damp towel – the water warms up very quickly and can cause more harm.
How to keep cats cool
- Many cats spend time outside roaming and are usually well equipped to seek out shade and shelter from the sun. If your cat is one of these, make sure that you have a cat flap that is accessible for them at all times so that they can come back inside to escape the sun.
- Always make sure that fresh drinking water is available. Consider leaving a full bowl outside in your garden in the shade, as well as inside, in case your cat can’t get back into the house and is in need of a drink.
- Consider investing in a cat water fountain to encourage them to drink more water; some cats play with the water as well, which can help to keep them cool.
- Another helpful tool to consider is a cooling mat, which can help to regulate temperature when a cat (or dog) lays on them.
- If you feed your cat wet food, make sure that it is kept in the fridge at all times other than when feeding it to your cat. If it is left out of the fridge, dispose of it and put down fresh next time – this is to prevent flies laying eggs in it or the food spoiling.
Seasonal allergies and itching
Be it dust, pollen, or mould, dog allergies can flare up at any point in the year, but seasonal allergies are just as common amongst our furry friends as they are with us humans. Yes, a dog allergic to grass is a genuine sensitivity that can cause skin rashes and dog hives. Having said that, the summertime can be especially tricky when it comes to dog hayfever – amongst keeping your dog cool and entertained. If your dog is experiencing swelling and/or redness of the face, throat, lips, eyelids, and/or earflaps, this could be a sign of an allergic reaction. You should pay a visit to your vet with your pooch in tow. They may prescribe a medication such as antihistamines for dogs, steroids or immunomodulators, in order to control your dog’s symptoms.