It’s turning out to be a cracker summer and while it’s easy for us “uprights” to keep cool, the heat can play havoc on our four legged friends. So here’s a few tips on how to keep them cool as a cucumber!
1. KEEP CALM & CARRY ON:
We know our pets love to run around and play but too much of a good thing on a really hot day and they will soon become exhausted and dehydrated. Encourage them to calm down by providing a relaxed, cool, dark place. Try not to initiate play during really hot days.
2. IF THE JANDAL FITS: It’s happened to all of us at some point – strolling to the diary for some tip-top and our jandal gets stuck to the hot tar, or hip hopping our way from the beach towel to the water over hot sand. Moral of the story: If you can’t walk on a surface barefoot nor can your dog, so best to keep those strolls to early morning or late evening. Rubbing Vitamin E Oil or Aloe Vera on to their paw pads will prevent cracked paws which can lead to them getting burnt on the pavement, better still walk on the grass!
3. GET CRAFTY:Kitty cats especially love a place where they can feel snug and safe. Simply solutions are placing a cardboard box on its side, place that is quiet, cool and out of the way e.g. a closet (doors open please). This is not the time of year for their favourite fleece – line it instead with breathable natural fabrics like cotton or a terry towel. Another crafty idea for both cats and dogs is sticking an ice pack inside a sock or under a towel, or a plastic bottle or hot water bottle filled with cold water left out for them to lie on. A tea-towel soaked in water, placed in the freezer then laid out for your pet to lie on is another nifty idea. If you are home to “outdoorsy types” and your garden lacks shady spots for them to enjoy, set up some shade-cloth – a towel laid across the top of a clothes horse is an easy and portable solution. Don’t forget to check garden sheds e.t.c before closing the door – our little friends might seek solace here and these small unventilated rooms can often overheat!
4. COOL CATS: We’ve never met a cat yet who likes to get wet so stroking them with a dampened paper towel is a more pleasant solution for both parties than a quick dip in the pool! The places where most pets get the warmest are their bellies, the pads on their paws, their armpits, under their chins, and on the outside of their ears. Concentrate on keeping these spots cool. Spraying the ears and the paw pads with a cool water or dampened towel will help cool the blood that circulates through the ears and reduce the overall body temperature of your pet.
5. BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER:Brush your pet daily – matted fur traps heat and stops the air flowing freely and as much as you think a baldy is the way to go – avoid shaving them to the skin – bare skin = sunburn + skin cancer risks! You can rub baby sunscreen on exposed areas but try not not them lick it off before it dries.
6. ICE ICE BABY:Naturally you’ll be supplying fresh water in their bowls (both inside and out) but you might want to consider an additional bowl
that contains ice cubes (don’t make this their only source of water), you could even try flavouring them with chicken or beef stock – ooo aaaah, as good a s Fruju! Or get a container and freeze their favourite toys and treats in water. As the block of ice gets licked and melts during the day the toys and treats slowly become available and reward your dog, or if you really want to treat them make a pet popsicle. If your dog is panting excessively try rubbing honey on their gums to raise their blood sugar and prevent heatstroke.
7. GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS:Heatstroke is a fever brought on by the failure of the body’s normal temperature regulation system due to being in overly high temperatures. Symptoms can include agitation, extreme distress, stretching out and panting heavily, skin hot to the touch, vomiting, glazed eyes, drooling and staggering. Untreated, your pet will collapse into a coma and die. If you see any of these signs, get to the veterinary clinic immediately.
If you need to treat your cat quickly before going to the vet, act fast:
- If they’re mildly affected, get them to a cool indoor environment with a constant flow of cool air, and keep them calm.
- If they’re severely affected, use a fine misting spray from a hose or sprayer, or pour bowls of water over them with care.
- Wrap them with wet towels except for the nose and mouth and keep adding cold water or ice packs and get them to the vet.
- In particular, the head must be kept cool and wet because heatstroke can “cook” the brain and cause brain death.
- Do not immerse the cat in cold water.
- Offer small amounts of water only once the cat is conscious and has cooled down; never give liquid to an unconscious animal.
MOST IMPORTANTLY DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PET IN A CAR UNATTENDED – EVEN IF YOU’VE CRACKED A WINDOW, THEY CAN OVERHEAT AND DIE IN UNDER 15 MINS!