As summer draws nearer, protecting our pets against the heat is becoming increasingly important. Many breeds are unable to stand higher temperatures, and all dogs are at risk in these circumstances. Overheating, sunburn and sunstroke are just some examples of how pets can suffer during the warmest period of the year and as pet owners, it is our responsibility to ensure our animals are protected. There are many things you can do to keep your pet as comfortable and safe as possible in hot weather.
Don’t leave your pets alone
Don’t leave your dog alone outside in hot weather, as this can have devastating consequences. Brachycephalic breeds, senior dogs and puppies are some of the most vulnerable groups. Watch your pets carefully to make sure they are not suffering with the effects of the weather whilst in the home and out walking.
It is extremely important to never leave your pet alone in a car. Temperatures inside can rise rapidly, even if it isn’t very warm outside. Just leaving your pet alone for a few minutes can be deadly, so it is best to leave them at home where you know they will be safe if you think this is likely to be the case.
You need to provide enough shade for your pet to cool down in. This is especially important if they like to spend a lot of time outdoors. Make sure there are shaded areas in the garden for them to retreat to, and leave your door open so they can choose to go back inside if they are getting too hot.
You need to maintain your pet’s coat in the most suitable way according to its length. A dog with long fur may require a slight trim to accommodate the heat, but you must be careful not to cut too much off. This is because the fur traps a layer of air to cool down the dog. If you have a long haired breed, ask your vet what the best length is to cut it to.
Water is essential for our pets’ survival, and without adequate sources they will become severely dehydrated. Ensure there are plenty of easily accessible bowls of fresh water in the home and around the garden for your pet to drink, and always take enough bottled water when out walking with them. A small paddling pool set up in your garden can provide a way for your pet to cool down, but you must always supervise them when using one. As always, you should clean your pet’s water dish daily and regularly refill it to prevent the accumulation of bacteria, viruses and parasites. Failure to do so will exposure your pet to a number of health risks, and they may also refuse to drink water they know isn’t fresh and clean. This could dehydrate them further, and cause even more problems.
Pesticides and insecticides
The rise in temperature brings with it a myriad of minibeasts, which increases the use of pesticides and insecticides. Many can be harmful and even poisonous for pets when ingested, so take care not to spray them in your garden. Employ an alternative method of pest elimination that will not harm your pet. When out walking with them, make sure to stay away from areas you suspect have been treated.
Barbecues and garden parties can pose many risks to pets. An encounter with a hot barbecue can cause serious burns and injuries. Pets must always be supervised to prevent them from jumping up for the food, or knocking the barbecue over on to their own body. Make sure there is always someone to supervise to prevent accidents.
Food and drink served at barbecues and garden parties can also be dangerous for pets. Alcohol in particular can have severe consequences when accidentally ingested, so don’t leave any empty bottles or glasses around for them to knock over or accidentally drink from. Be mindful of giving certain foods to your pet, as anything straight off the barbecue can be extremely hot and may burn their mouth. They may also seize the opportunity of taking food from distracted party guests that may cause them harm, such as chocolate, so bear this in mind.
Summer is a time to enjoy yourself with your pet, but there are many precautions you need to take. Being aware of what could potentially happen might prevent an accident from occurring, so always watch your pet to protect them and make sure they are safe.