With the recent very hot weather, many of us have been complaining it’s been just too warm to do anything (after all, we’re never satisfied in the UK!). If it’s bad for us, it can be much worse for our dogs and cats. Here’s how to help your pet be a cool dude when the heat is on.
Hot weather and cats
Cats generally cope much better than dogs in hot weather, as they are originally desert animals and are much better at keeping still and using less energy in the heat. Your cat will still be grateful for a few little additions to their normal routine, though. Make sure that clean, fresh water is available at all times. If your cat goes out during the day, make sure they have somewhere cool and shady to retreat to and put a cooling gel mat in their bed. Most cats aren’t keen on getting wet, so damping them down won’t be as appreciated as it is by dogs – but they often like to play with ice cubes. Freeze a half teaspoon of tuna into an ice cube to encourage them to lick it, or give them plain ice – many cats like to scoot these round the floor and rub their faces on it. Keep a close eye on your pet for any signs of sunburn (cats with pink noses and ears are particularly vulnerable), and be even more vigilant that usual that your cat doesn’t get shut in anywhere such as a shed or cupboard.
Hot weather and dogs
Dogs are particularly susceptible to heat. Unlike humans, they can’t sweat to cool down so their only built-in cooling system is panting which can take a long time to have any effect. Dogs aren’t always very good at realising when they’ve overdone it, and may happily lie out in full sunshine for hours – keep an eye on them and frog (or ‘dog’?) march them inside after a few minutes.
- Keep exercise periods to first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. Try and take your dog somewhere where there’s water so he can cool off mid-walk, or take a bottle of water with you and wet him down. Avoid very strenuous exercise such as repeatedly throwing a ball.
- There are lots of ‘cooling gadgets’ on the market now, including cooling collars, coats, bandanas and beds. All the clothing works by being soaked in water and put on wet, producing a cooling effect. These things will only work if they’re wet, so you may need to top them by occasionally by re-soaking them. For a DIY alternative, use a wet towel as a cooling bed and tie a wet cloth round your dog’s neck. These will dry out much more quickly than the purpose-made ones, though, so keep an eye on them! You could also try a summer dog toy designed to be frozen then chewed, which will help keep your dog’s mouth cool.
- Provide plenty of shade and fresh drinking water. If your garden allows, you could consider getting a doggy paddling pool or even leaving a sprinkler on (say goodbye to clean floors, though).
- Just as in cats, keep an eye out for sunburn on any tender areas and if necessary apply some pet-safe sunscreen.
By following our guide your dog will stay safe and well over the summer – and we’ll be back to rain (and your dog will be back to feeling comfortable and getting nice and muddy) before you know it.
All images (c) Pixabay