We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but spending too much time in hot weather can spell danger for animals.
Here are our tips for keeping your animals cool while the sun shines.
Your animals may drink more water than usual, so keep an eye on their water bowls. They may need to be filled with fresh, clean, cool water more often.
Carry LOTS of water for your dog when going on a walk or outing with them. If you are at the beach, remember that dogs can’t drink seawater as it can make them very sick - be sure to bring water along!
We all know to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP to avoid getting sunburnt and limit our risk of skin cancer, but have you thought about protecting your animal’s skin from the sun?
Animals can get sunburnt and risk getting skin cancers, just like people! Animals that are especially vulnerable to sunburns are the ones with areas of white/pale coloured skin, like pink noses, ears and bellies. Animal sunscreens are non-toxic and specially formulated for animals to be applied to these areas.
Ask your animal's veterinarian about the best sunscreen for your animal's skin.
Remember: never use human sunscreen on your pet – many contain ingredients that are toxic to animals.
Make sure all of your animals have a cool, shady place to rest, that's out of the sun!
On a hot day, a parked car can become like an oven in no time. Even with the windows open, being in a parked car could lead to fatal heat stroke for your animal within seconds! Make sure your family and friends never leave their animals alone in a parked vehicle.
If your dog likes swimming, then one of the best activities you can do in summertime or hot weather is swimming. Instead of walking your dog, take them for a swim. Swimming with your dog and an adult is super fun!
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool. Many pools do not have steps or ramps – dogs do not have legs that are good at climbing ladders or arms that are able to pull themselves up and out of a pool. They can easily get stuck and possibly drown.
It’s a good idea to rinse your pet off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from their fur. Try to keep them from drinking pool water, as it contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause a sore stomach. Instead, make sure a bowl of fresh, cool water is nearby.
Dry your pets well after swimming. Remember - heat + wet skin/coat = skin infections.
Different dogs have different types of coats. Some dogs' coats are designed to help keep them cool in warm weather, with the layers of their coats protecting them from overheating and sunburn.
Ask your dog’s veterinarian whether your dog’s type of coat needs a trim.
Brushing cats more often over the summer months can help remove lose hair and prevent problems caused by too much heat.
When the temperature is very high, don't let your dog linger on hot concrete or black sand. Being so close to the ground, your dog's body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn.
Dogs don't have the Weather Channel or a weather app, so they don't know why they are being denied a long walk for the day. Allow your dog to step outside and feel for his/herself that it is too hot to go on a long walk. Your dog may then understand that they have to shorten their walk, or simply come back inside where it's more comfortable.
Cooler early mornings and evenings are the best times for walking dogs and taking them out for playtime.
The snuggly, warm blankets and beds of winter can be replaced with cooler summer options that are easily washed to prevent harbouring of flea eggs, as these are more common in warmer weather.
Raised beds for dogs are usually best, as they allow cooler air to circulate around your dog.
You can ask your parents or caregivers if you can make doggy ice blocks. You can do this by freezing a bowl of water with a few of your dog biscuits inside. These items provide an activity for home alone dogs, as well as a cool down.
Remember: It is super duper important to always stay well away from a dog while they are eating food. Even your own dog may get very grumpy and even bite you if they think you are coming to take their food away from them!
Summer is the time when fleas make an unwelcome appearance. Combined with the effects of the heat, they can cause horrible skin conditions and much discomfort for your cat or dog. Monthly topical flea treatments are the best option, as they provide great control against the harmful and distressing effects of flea bites.