According to the weather forecast, we’re in for a lovely hot spell. Can you believe next Wednesday it’s supposed to be 26°C! With warmer temperatures, it’s really important we help our pets stay cool and hydrated, as overheating can lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke is when core body temperature is above the norm: heat generation exceeds the body’s ability to lose heat and can quickly lead to tissue damage, organ damage and even death.
Here are a few guidelines to help your pets stay chilled and safe this summer:
Ensure your pet has access at all times to cool, well-ventilated areas, where there is plenty of shade. Move small indoor pets out of the sun and outdoor hutches into shade. Never leave pets in cars or conservatories – even on warm days – as temperatures can soar and quickly become dangerous. Should you see a pet trapped in a hot car, call 999.
Make sure pets have access to fresh, clean drinking water at all times. Remember to top up water bowls regularly to compensate for increased water intake and evaporation.
Choose cooler times of the day to walk your dog, and avoid excessive exercise. Gentle walks during hot weather are best as over-excitement can cause dogs to overheat.
Know the signs of heat stroke so you can take quick, potentially life-saving action! Early signs for cats and dogs include excessive panting, increasingly noisy breathing, general distress, excessive drooling and foaming at the mouth. For small furries, heat stroke can initially present as drooling, lethargy, fitting, loss of consciousness and fast breathing. Click here for a more detailed list of heat stroke symptoms.
Contact a vet immediately should you suspect your pet has heat stroke. The condition can be fatal. You can give your pet emergency first aid by wringing cool water over their head and body and fanning them to maximise cooling (not cold water as this can lead to shock and don’t wrap pets in towels as this prevents evaporation), but it’s still essential you see a vet, even if your pet seems to be recovering.