How to: Keep your pets cool

Whitsunday Times - - INDUSTRY -

WE all feel the heat in sum­mer – our pets in­cluded. So what can you do to keep your furry friends cool and safe at home in the heat?

Cats, dogs, and other pets all feel the heat and de­spite their fur, they can also get sun­burnt.

In hot weather, they are at risk of heat stress or heat stroke.

Worst case sce­nario: The heat can even be life threat­en­ing for your furry friend. Vets warn it can hap­pen fast when the con­di­tions are right.

Dogs are par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to heat stroke as they only per­spire around their paws and nose.

Warn­ing signs and symp­toms of heat stroke in dogs in­clude ex­ces­sive pant­ing or saliva, high body tem­per­a­ture and the an­i­mal’s gums turn­ing blueish pur­ple or bright red.

You can re­duce the risk of heat stroke in your pets by mak­ing sure they have ac­cess to:

– Good ven­ti­la­tion so they don’t over­heat (i.e. cool floors and an over­head fan)

– Plenty of cool wa­ter to drink so they stay hy­drated and ex­tra bowls of wa­ter in case they get knocked over, and – Lots of shade (like a ve­ran­dah, garage, or dense shady trees).

Don’t ever leave your an­i­mal in a con­firmed space – like a ken­nel or car – on a hot sum­mer day. And avoid phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties like games and walks in the hottest part of the day.

We asked some pet own­ers for their tips on how they keep their pets cool on hot sum­mer days.

Melinda takes her labrador for swims with her at the beach or sets up a shal­low pad­dle pool at home. She also gives him a cool bath when it’s hot.

Her dog also re­ceives frozen treats in hot weather like frozen peas, blue­ber­ries, or she makes dog-friendly ice blocks.

If she has to go to work she of­ten leaves her pooch with a rel­a­tive who has air-con for the day.

Au­drey makes her large Ger­man shep­herd ice blocks out of wa­tered down chicken stock and of­fers other cold treats like frozen meats. She also freezes a damp towel for her dog to lie on. She rec­om­mends putting out wa­ter in a ce­ramic bowl in the shade, which makes it stay cooler for longer.

Maryanne uses a spray bot­tle to cool her pooch down, and says the con­crete floors in her liv­ing area are a colder spot for him to rest on. She also sug­gests that re­ally furry dogs should have hair­cuts for sum­mer.

Har­riet has a Bri­tish bull­dog – a breed she says are no­to­ri­ous for drop­ping dead in the heat. She has a shell pool for him to sit in and he loves stand­ing over the top of a sprin­kler.

It’s not just dogs – cats feel the heat too.

Rebecca keeps her cat in­doors dur­ing the day when she knows it’s go­ing to be hot, with the blinds drawn and the win­dows shut to keep the house cool.

These pet own­ers all ad­here to the golden rule: No walks or phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in the mid­dle of the day.

Don’t for­get your pet’s health

Sum­mer means more in­sects, so the RSPCA says that your pet’s flea and fly treat­ments should be up to date.

Hot weather also brings out dan­ger­ous ticks, so you should treat for ticks, and check your an­i­mals daily for any sign of them.

The deadly par­vovirus is more com­mon in sum­mer, so make sure your dog’s vac­ci­na­tions are up to date.

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