As I sit here writing this I look out of the window and it is torrential rain, it’s very mild but nothing compared to the last couple of days.
It’s been a long and wet winter for sure so the appearance of the sun and the accompanying hot weather is welcomed by many of us. For many pets though it’s a not so welcome change.
When we have these sudden heatwaves our pets really notice it, of course some pets absolutely love it and will sit out in the sun in the garden. I remember Vixen my black cat would love the sun and would lounge in it all day long. Until it got too hot.
It really is important to keep an eye on our pets through these warmer spells of weather, and if like many they really do not enjoy it then we need to make them as comfortable as possible. The following advice is for hot weather and heat waves.
I know there is nothing nicer then being outside with your dog on a glorious day, playing fetch, running around. Yet when we get these heatwaves and periods of very hot weather chances are your dog will really not want to be doing these things.
It is best to walk your dog early in the morning and late in the evening. I usually take Phoenix out between 6-7am during hot weather, if it is really hot then it has sometimes been 5am while the air is still cool. I then walk her late in the evening, anytime from 9pm onwards is usually good.
Do not take your dog out in the midday sun, when the sun is at it’s hottest your dog will not enjoy it. Remember they are wearing a fur coat. Try putting your winter coat on and going out in the sun. That’s how your dog is feeling when they are out in the heat.
A good rule of thumb is the pavement rule. Place your hand on the pavement. If you cannot keep it there for more then five seconds then it is too hot for your dog. Dogs pads easily burn on hot pavements and the burns are very painful for them. Be especially mindful if they walk through any water and then straight onto a hot pavement. Avoid all metal manhole covers on roads and pavements. In the heat they become boiling.
When you do take your dog out always carry cool water and offer it to your dog. It’s best to just walk your dog in hot weather, they won’t enjoy running around at all. Keep in the shade as much as possible.
It’s a good idea to also carry a cool wet flannel with you, which you can then wipe over your dog to help keep them cool. Placing a flannel or hand towel in the freezer is another good way to keep it cool and then placing it on the floor for a dog to lie on or rub it over them.
Whilst at home always ensure fresh cool water is available for your dog. If your dog enjoys the sun then they can enjoy it in the garden as they will then move to a cooler spot if they become too hot.
A great way to enjoy the hot weather is to get your dog a paddling pool. Many dogs absolutely love playing in them and it is a great way to have some fun. Phoenix also has her own parasol which I move around the garden to provide shade for her.Hose pipes can be dangerous for dogs. The hose itself becomes hot so when you first turn the tap on the water will come out very hot, potentially scalding your dog. Try not to let them drink much water from the hose, a little drink is fine but too much can cause problems.
Phoenix tends to stay indoors during very hot weather as she really doesn’t enjoy it. Inside she has fans on her. I got a really good one last year which circulates cool air instead of hot air.
Cool mats and pads are also a fantastic investment for both cats and dogs. These are non-toxic gel filled mats which stay cool and lower your dogs body temperature.
To help your dog cool off offer them watermelon. It is completely safe for them to eat and the added water will help keep them hydrated.
Lastly but most definitely not least please do not keep your dog in the car on a hot day, even for just five or ten minutes. Cars become very hot, very quickly. Your dog will soon suffer from heat stroke. If you pop to the shop etc, leave your dog at home, not in the car.
Signs of heatstroke in dogs Each year so many dogs are admitted into veterinary hospitals with heat stroke. More often then not it is occurring just after a walk when they have been running around. Any dog can get heatstroke but by taking as many precautions as you can you can completely minimise the risk.
Symptoms Of Heat Stroke
Blood in urine
Collapse, fainting, coma
Very red tongue and gums
If you notice one or more of these symptoms in your dog on a hot day contact your vet immediately for advice. If heat stroke is suspected then prompt treatment and admission into hospital is vital for saving your dogs life.
CatsJust like dogs cats also struggle in the hot weather. Some may love it, some hate it. You may notice your cat not being as active in hot weather. This is normal, they do not feel like playing.
When outside cats will enjoy sunbathing as they can then move to a cooler spot when they feel too hot.
Regardless of whether your cat enjoys or hates the hot weather there are steps you can take to help them feel more comfortable.
Keep all water bowls accessible and cool. You can add ice cubes to the water to help keep it cool.
Cats also benefit from the cool mats I mentioned earlier on in this post.
If you have stone or tiled flooring you will probably notice your cat making use of the floor space. If you have neither just adding one simple floor tile to your carpet or wood floor will provide a cool spot for your cat to cool off.With my cats I find wiping them down with a cool slightly damp cloth will help keep them cool.
You can also place a hand towel in the freezer to keep it cool then place it on the floor for your cat to lie on.
One little trick that worked well for one of mine was a frozen bottle of water with a tea towel wrapped around it. The coolness provided a nice cool pillow or fun play toy whilst keeping them cool.
With all of this in mind you can make the hot summer months and enjoyable time for you and your pets.
Phoenix's Paddling Pool - Argos
Travel water bottle for dogs Pets At Home
Phoenix's Parasol Argos
I'm not being paid to promote these products just recommending what I personally use for my pets.