This summer has been a real treat, the weather’s been great, and another heatwave has been announced! However, some days have been extremely hot which can cause us to feel uncomfortable and lethargic. Our pets can also experience this feeling of discomfort and the heat can lead to life-threatening issues.
Dr Sarah Machell, Medical Director for Vetster, a digital platform that connects licensed vets with pet owners virtually, with 24/7 online appointments, shares some steps we can take to ensure that our pets can enjoy the summer days as much as we can:
1 Make sure your pet is hydrated
One of the best ways to keep your pet safe in the heat is to supply them with lots of water. Always replenish their water dish with fresh, clean water and encourage them to drink it. Pets aren’t always compelled to drink on their own and sometimes need a little urging. If that’s the case with your furry friend, try getting creative by adding a few drops of water to their wet food or adding ice cubes to their water – chilled water is often more enticing and refreshing!
2 Paws on the pavement!
When the weather gets extremely hot, so do the pavements—asphalt, in particular. So, if you’re taking your dog out for a walk, just try to remember that they don’t have shoes to guard against the heat. While their paw pads are extremely tough, hot surfaces may burn them. When you take your pet out for a walk, try to steer clear of the streets and lead them onto the cool grass instead. Also, consider using padded booties for their paws to create a barrier. Remember, when you go for walks in the evening, remember the pavements will retain some of that heat so please be careful with your pet’s paws.
3 Watch out for Allergies. Yes, your pets can get them too!
Allergies are no fun – for both pets and humans. When pets have allergies, it almost always presented as a skin irritation. Watch out for inflammation and itchiness with your pets. You’ll also see red ears that are particularly itchy, potentially combined with inflammation under the armpits and inner thigh. The reaction your cat or dog is having, though, might be more than skin deep, and they can have digestive issues such as vomiting, diarrhoea and upset stomachs. Reactions can also cause respiratory issues — though those are more common in cats than dogs. If you are unsure of what to do if your pet is experiencing allergies or any of these symptoms, you can contact a professional on Vetster.
4 Look out for signs of heatstroke
Heatstroke is a severe condition and one to look out for in pets. As a pet parent, it’s important to be aware of your pet’s fitness levels and avoid overexertion when the weather’s too hot or humid. There are some things you can do to spot the signs of heatstroke, but one of the most common indicators is if your pet is panting heavily. Your animal may also become restless and start drooling excessively. Because dogs or cats only have sweat glands on their paws, the only way their bodies can control temperature is by panting. If you notice your pet is panting heavier than usual during a heatwave, then this may be a sign that they are experiencing heat stroke. To prevent this, provide them with plenty of water, shade, and downtime.
5 Never leave your pet unattended in a hot vehicle
Heatstroke (hyperthermia) can happen in the blink of an eye—it cannot be stressed enough that you should never, ever leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even if you leave the window down for fresh air even and will only be gone for a few minutes. According to a study by Stanford University Medical Centre, even on days when you find it’s cool enough, the temperature in a parked car can reach in excess of 40 degrees Fahrenheit in a few short minutes.
Keeping our pets protected in hot weather is crucial, so have a fun and safe summer with your furry friends.