Britain is all set for the incoming bank holiday as the cold winds and unrelenting rain are replaced with a soaring heatwave. Whilst it’s something that has everyone jumping up and down in shorts and vests, there are other things to consider aside from topping up your faded tan…
Your furry friends could end up suffering if you don’t have them in mind and make the necessary arrangements to keep them safe.
The heat can mean our beloved pets face a tough and dangerous time, so as a responsible pet owner, you need to take proactive steps to deal with the approaching heatwave.
We’re sure that you already know that domestic animals are vulnerable to heat stress. Those with long hair are especially susceptible to the heat and therefore they need to be monitored closely on blistering hot days.
The body mechanisms of our pets are very different to those of our own, meaning they are dependent on us to help keep them cool. Making this happen mainly requires common sense, such as providing shade, ample amounts of water and exposure to fresh air.
There are some simple, easy to follow methods that are hugely effective, and they can make a world of difference in helping our little friends beat the heat.
Let’s take a look at how we can help our furry friends stay cool this bank holiday…
Keep Your Pets Inside
The first thing to do to help your pets on a sweltering day is to bring them into the comfort of your home, where they will benefit from being in a cooler environment – preferably an air-conditioned room!
Wherever you decide to keep them in your house, it should have a good airflow with plenty of cool drinking water that is easily accessible.
Pets that are kept in cages and huts, such as guinea pigs and rabbits, must be brought indoors as these environments tend to become sweltering hot which can result in death.
If you don’t have an air-conditioned room, take your pets into the coolest part of your home – probably the bathroom or a room with a tiled floor, then switch on a fan and check on them regularly.
If your pet still looks agitated, consider wetting a towel and draping it over them or patting them with it to help them cool down faster. Additionally, putting your pet in a nice cool bath will also do the trick. Whilst you’re at it, scrub them down with some natural dog shampoo so they are smelling and feeling divine.
Be Car Safe
You’ll struggle to find someone that hasn’t seen a devastating video on social media or read a horrific article in the paper about a dog overheating and dying in car.
Despite it constantly being splashed across the news, there are still pet owners out there who fail to think ahead. Do not leave your dog in a hot car!
There are now laws that penalise those who choose to leave their pets in cars on hot days. Ignore posts talking about how long you can leave your pets in a hot car – just don’t do it at all.
Avoid Long Walks in The Sun
We understand that sometimes there is nothing better than a leisurely stroll in the sun, but for our furry friends, this can be an absolute nightmare. Hold off and walk your dog when temperatures start to drop. A good ballpark is to avoid walking your dog between the hours of 11am and 4pm.
Walking your dog during peak heat times means they are at risk of overheating. Symptoms to look out for are anxiety, excessive panting, convulsions and collapsing. You will need to seek immediate attention from a vet.
Also, make sure that your pets are well groomed during the hotter months of the year. Regular visits to the groomers can get pretty costly during summer, so investing in some decent dog clippers will mean that you and your pet are happy throughout those warmer seasons.
Provide Plenty of Fresh Water
Place bowls of fresh, cold water around the house and garden for your pets. You can even add a few ice cubes to the bowls as this will keep the water cooler for longer.
While adding ice cubes to the water is an awesome idea, you can also try making tasty ice-cold treats for your pets.
For your feline friends, take a tin of tuna packed in water, pour the contents into an ice-cube tray and place them in the freezer overnight. The next morning you will have some treats that will certainly get your feline friends seal of approval.
For your canine buddies, you can use homemade chicken broth or a mix of chopped fruits and do the same.
Although you need to keep in mind that these frozen treats are exactly that – treats, and so you shouldn’t be giving them to your pets constantly.
Clipping can be a good idea for dogs that belong to the long-hair breeds. Instead of taking your pet to a groomer and spending a small fortune regularly, splash out just once on some quality pet clippers to do the job.
The great thing about this is that you can groom your precious pets exactly when they need it. There won’t be a 6-week waiting list and you won’t be constantly worrying that your dog is too hot whilst you’re at work, because you’ll be relaxed knowing that your pet has been trimmed recently.
You can also cool down your pets by giving them a good brush. Cats tend to develop matted fur in the heat and brushing helps to eliminate loose and dead hair.
If you’re shaving your pet, make sure that you apply some pet-safe sunscreen because just like you and I, animals can get burnt too!
Keep A Watchful Eye on Your Pets
While we have several options to make the most of our situation during a heatwave, our pets don’t. We know how to cool ourselves down if we get too bogged down by the heat, but our pets rely on us for help.
Unbearable heat can cause heatstroke which is dangerous and at times life threatening, so you must keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Excessive panting
- Getting thirsty too often
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Excessive and thick dribbling
- A rapid heartbeat
- Muscle spasms
- Confusion and lack of coordination
Seek medical help immediately if your cat or dog show any of these symptoms.
Keep an Eye on Your Winged Friends Too
Birds kept in a cage should be brought inside if possible. For birds kept in aviaries and pens, make sure that they are kept in the shade all day, with plenty of cool, fresh water at their disposal.
Birds experiencing heat stress will breathe from their mouths and pant really hard while holding their wings out. They might even appear weak and agitated.
Here are a couple of things you can do to cool them off when this happens:
- Spray mist onto your pet birds gently and do this only if they like it.
- In the case of larger birds, they might like getting sprinkled, so you can place a sprinkler within their enclosure or right next to it.
- If you can carefully supervise, provide shallow water bowls for them to take a dip and bathe in.
So, before the heatwave descends upon us all in full swing, its best to start with the preparations now to get your loving pets ready to deal with the hot temperatures that are yet to come.