Finally the summer sun has arrived! Luckily we have been enjoying some lovely sunshine across Ireland over the last few weeks and it’s set to continue. So while we are out enjoying the sun spare a thought for our 4 legged friends. Here are our top tips to keep your pet cool and safe this summer, along with some advice should they overheat.
- Cool & Breezy: Make sure your pet has access to a shaded, breezy place if outdoors.
- Hydrate: Ensure your pet has access to plenty of cold, fresh, drinking water at all times. If travelling bring collapsible drinking bowls and offer cold water regularly.
- Siesta: Walk your dog in the morning or evening and try to avoid the warmer parts of the day.
- Burnt paws: Be aware of pavements and roads heating up and causing burns to your pet’s Paws
- Sunscreen: Just like people, dogs and cats are prone to sunburn and to other complications and diseases associated with sun exposure. White coloured skin is most susceptible as there is no protective pigment. Parts of the body most at risk are the ear tips, nose, belly, and groin. Only use formulas that are specifically intended as sunscreen for pets. They should not contain zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), as these ingredients are toxic if ingested.
- Ticks: While ticks can be found outdoors year-round, summer is the most common time for bites to happen. Check your pet daily for ticks and make sure to brush them every time they come inside from a walk or playtime. Your vet will advise you on the best protection against ticks for your pet and what to look out for if your pet starts to show any potential symptoms from tick-borne diseases.
- Safer left at home: Think ahead when planning a day out. Can you protect your pet from overheating on a beach or during a long walk in the mountains? If not, make other arrangements to leave them at home or with a friend.
- Take a dip: Encourage your dog to swim; or soak them down with water on a hot day with little shade.
- Never leave your pet in a car. Even 10 minutes may be enough to cause severe heat stroke or death! The inside of the car will be 20 degrees higher than the outside temperature. Leaving windows open does not keep the temperature down.
Which Pets are Most at Risk of Overheating?
- Older dogs and dogs with heart and lung problems are more prone to overheating.
- Dark and long coated breeds absorb more heat and find it harder to cool down. Trim long and thick coated breeds to give them some relief in summer.
- Dogs with flat faces like Pugs, Pekinese, Bulldogs and Persian cats are much more susceptible to heat stroke as they cannot regulate their temperature enough by panting rapidly and can suffer heat stress as a result. If you don’t take action to cool them down this can rapidly lead to heatstroke and even death.
Know the Signs of Heat Stroke:
- Excessive, noisy panting
- Dry gums that become pale
- Rapid pulse
- Vomiting, diarrhoea and rectal bleeding
This will progress to breathing becoming slow or absent; with seizures, coma and cardiac arrest.
What to Do If You See Signs of Heat Stress in Your Pet:
- Move them to a cooler place, preferably with a fan. Your pet needs to breathe in cool air – it is the only way they can cool themselves down.
- Soak towels in cool water and place on head, under arms, and between back legs – change regularly.
- Offer cool water to drink, or moisten tongue with cool water if unable to drink.
- Don’t give ice cubes as they can cool too rapidly, causing shock.
- Wet ear flaps, paws and pads.
- In the event of an emergency, call ahead to your vet and let them know you are on your way.