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The Importance of Beating the Summer Heat

Animal Friends Insurance urges owners to keep their pets safe with the unexpected rise in temperatures. As temperatures rise sharply Animal Friends Pet Insurance highlights the need to alter the times people take pets out and to be aware of the potential hazards of the heat.

Summer is often seen as a great time to take dogs on lovely walks or simply relax in the garden but it is important to take extra precautions in keeping pets safe from excessive summer heat and being aware if a pet exhibits signs of heat stress due to increased body temperature. Maintaining a comfortable environment for a pet is essential, so provide plenty of cool, fresh water and access to shade at all times to allow them to get out of any direct sunlight.

“Every year heat stress incidents occur through the summer months. It is essential to seek veterinary advice if people are at all concerned that a pet has been affected and we are urging owners to take extra care to ensure their pets have a safe summer” said Tara Hughes, RVN

Do not leave any dog in the car, confinement in a car or any other poorly ventilated space can be fatal for pets, and will leave owners liable to prosecution. One study reports that when the outside temperature is 26ºC /78ºF, the inside of a car will reach 32ºC /90ºF in five minutes, and 43ºC /110ºF in 25 minutes. Even a few minutes is too long; think about journeys and avoid dog journeys in the hot weather with a pet.

Exercising dogs too much during hot days or when it is humid can be very dangerous. The best time to exercise is either early in the morning or late in the evening. This is particularly important for dogs with thick, heavy coats: do not take them out in the middle of the day. All dogs need daily exercise and mental stimulation but avoid vigorous exercise in hot weather.

Exposed areas on a pet can be susceptible to sunburn; be careful of the tips of cat’s ears and light exposed areas of skin, around noses can also be very sensitive areas. It is advisable to apply sun block on any areas that may burn using a waterproof, non-toxic sunscreen and reapply the cream throughout the day. Ask a vet for a suitable sun cream to use. Dogs that have recently had their coats trimmed can also be particularly vulnerable to burning as well as developing heat stress.

Heat stress can develop rapidly with exposure to high temperatures, humidity and poor ventilation. Symptoms include heavy panting, profuse salivation, anxiety, lethargy, lack of co-ordination, dehydration, rapid pulse, vomiting and diarrhoea and very red gums and tongue. Puppies and older dogs tend to be more susceptible to the condition, as are dogs with thick, heavy coats, or dogs with an existing cardiovascular or respiratory condition. With any form of heat stress, prompt veterinary attention is vital to deal with potential complications.

If their is any concern that a dog is suffering from any heat-related condition, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet immediately. Animal Friends offers many comprehensive insurance policies that are there to help with the cost of any necessary veterinary treatment.

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