Wow It’s HOT Out There.
Whilst we are all out and about enjoying the summer weather please take a moment to think about the safety and welfare of our four-legged family. You may think you are just popping into a shop, or only going to be out a short while, unfortunately, that can be too long!
Cars can reach fatal temperatures this time of year, it is not worth the risk. Even parked in shade with windows open a car can reach incredibly high temperatures within minutes of stopping. If it is 22 degrees outside, a car can reach 47 degrees inside, and It is not just cars, conservatories and caravans too. An animal can die in minutes.
Reduce the length of your dog walks and avoid the middle of the day when the sun is at its strongest. Your normal routine may allow your dog to run off lead, but it is recommended to keep them on lead in very hot temperatures. Choose shaded paths and walk on grass where possible as concrete can reach very high temperatures. Check the pavement heat, if you cannot hold your hand on it, it’s too hot for your dogs’ paws.
If you are thinking of taking your dog to the pub beer garden be aware of how much time you spend in the sun, seek out shade of trees, provide them with water and consider sitting indoors at times.
Make sure there is ample supply of fresh drinking water available at all times, including on your walks. Some dogs may also benefit from sunscreen being applied to their snout, ears, or their bellies, in particular white short-haired breeds.
All dogs can suffer from heatstroke as they struggle to regulate their body temperature especially when they haven’t had a chance to acclimatise to a sudden increase in heat. If you own a flat-faced breed it is much more common so take extra care, even a short run about could trigger heatstroke.
Whilst our cats will seek out shade and drink more water they will also make their way into warm areas for a cosy spot. As with dogs they should not be left in cars, caravans, or conservatories and they also can use sunscreen. Where safe, keep windows and doors ajar to allow a breeze through the house. If your cat lives indoors only, consider windows with locking mechanisms, which still allow air into the house but also keeps your cat indoors. Regular grooming can help too.
Small animals suffer from heatstroke too. So consider where their enclosure is, if in direct sun they can quickly overheat. Using a sun parasol and keeping an eye on the direction of sun can help to keep them shaded. Make sure they have fresh water and consider a few different bowls for extra water, checking them frequently as water in small bottles and bowls warms rapidly in heat. Providing the shaded areas is crucial but be aware of hidey houses made of plastic as these heat very quickly, wooden tunnels, hay to burrow and a cardboard box are best. Frozen water bottles can be placed in their pen to provide a cool place to rest.
Be aware of the signs of heatstroke
• rapid panting
• struggling to breathe
• wobbling and having trouble standing
Take action immediately
Try to stay calm, keep a quiet and soothing voice as your stress could increase their stress.
Move your pet to a cool area, use a fan or air conditioning if you have it, put them on a wet towel, start to apply cool water slowly to their feet, ears and fur, but NEVER use ice or very cold water. Wet towels can be applied to head neck and chest on Dogs, give small drinks of cool water, not ice, call your vet.
Don’t forget we can help out wildlife too. Provide water in bowls in your garden so birds can drink, they will also bath in it to cool down. If you have a water feature with running water it will attract more birds too. Hedgehogs can die of dehydration in the hot weather as they struggle to find natural water sources, the ground becomes hard which makes it difficult for them to find food too. If you leave out water for them it could save their life, they can be fed tinned cat food, but please do not give them milk. Always use a shallow bowl so they can drink from it, and make sure to clean your bowls to stop the build-up of algae. As Hedgehogs seek out water they can fall into ponds and water features, they can swim but they need to have a step or sloping edge to get out.
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