With extremes in temperature over the next couple of days, we need to be extra thoughtful about ways to keep our pets cool and comfortable. Check out the RSPCA’s website for really useful tips and advice on looking after our pets in summer heat. This is our clinical director Hamish’s border terrier taking a break from playing in the river!
If pets get too hot, it can lead to heatstroke which needs urgent action as this can kill. This is where pets are unable to reduce their own body temperature themselves. Typical general signs are heavy panting and difficulty breathing or rapid shallow breathing, collapse and excessive drooling. Dogs may display lethargy, drowsiness or appear uncoordinated, whilst cats may pace and display restlessness and agitation. In rabbits, you may notice their ears are reddened and warm and they have a wetness around their nose.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, please call for veterinary help immediately as this is a medical emergency. As emergency first aid, you should ensure your pet is in shade. Pour cool (not cold to avoid shock) water over your dog’s body, avoiding their head. Do not wrap in damp towels as this prevents evaporation and the cooling process. You can spray cats’ fur with cool water, and gently dampen rabbits’ ears and put a cool damp towel over their hutch. Even if these measures seems to revive your pet, it’s still really important to seek veterinary help.