Every year pets die in hot weather, often purely because their owner underestimated how dangerous higher temperatures can be for their pet.
‘Dogs die in hot cars’, we have all heard this before and yet every year heartbreaking stories emerge of pets that passed away and devastated owners who simply underestimated the risk. The message is simple: don’t leave your dog alone in a car in warmer weather. You may have cracked the window a little but with the sun beating down on the car, that may not be enough to save your pet. If you come across a dog in a parked car in hot weather, the RSPCA have produced some helpful guidelines on how best to act which you can access here.
As the weather warms up, many of our pets are at risk of overheating. Here are some top tips on recognising the warning signs and help your pet stay cool.
1. Recognize the signs of heat stroke – Aside from leaving pets in parked cars there are other situations where dogs can develop heat stroke which can be life threatening. Examples include exercising a dog strenuously on a warm or muggy day: the heat generated by their muscles can be enough to cause a crisis. When you are out with your dog on a warm day, be aware that if they flop to the ground, panting and unwilling to walk, there’s a high chance that this could be heat stroke.
2. Learn what to do in case of heat stroke – First of all, call us. We can give advice on how to best deal with the situation and if it is best for your dog to come in to see us. Depending on our advice, cooling your dog is the most important next step. Cool water applied to your dog’s body is the most effective way to bring their temperature down to get them to a source of water asap and soak them. Don’t overdo it, if your dog indicates it has had enough then stop. If you haven’t yet spoken to us at this point give us a call! We are here for you 24 hours a day and heat stroke is an emergency situation.
3. Feed less but offer more water – in warm weather pets need fewer calories as they need to less generate less body heat. Provide plenty of drinking water for pets and take some with you on walks.
4. Keep your pets out of the sun – position rabbit and small animal hutches in a shady location and don’t walk your dog in the middle of the day. Early morning and early evening are better to avoid too much heat and sunlight.
5. Beware of the risk of sunburn and skin cancer – Pets with pigmented fur and skin do not need protecting from the sun but take care with animals with light fur and pink pads, nose and ears. There are pet specific sun blocks on the market which are the best way of protecting your pet from harmful rays.