From ice cube treats to warning signs from their feet – we give you some hot tips for cool pets this summer
Keeping dogs cool
Dogs aren’t great at keeping themselves cool. They need your help. They cool themselves mainly by panting, so cooler air is the best way to prevent and relieve overheating.
Never leave your dog in a parked car on a hot day. The RSPCA warns that if it’s 22 degrees in a car, for example, within an hour this can rise to 47 degrees (even with a window a bit open) – enough to kill your pet. The same advice goes for leaving your pet in a glass conservatory or caravan – don’t.
If your dog is left outside make sure it has plenty of shade and water (preferably with ice added in very hot weather). A tarp/canopy or tree provide perfect shade because they don’t obstruct airflow. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to heat exhaustion and sunburn – really dogs can get sunburnt; especially breeds with light-coloured nose and ears. Dogs cool down from bottom up, so start with a cold wet towel on their paws and belly, and work your way up from there.
On hot days limit your dog’s exercise. Don’t take him for a long walk in the heat of the day; go early morning or late evening. Bring water for drinking and spray them if necessary (not on the face, they don’t like that!). Better still, bring them for a swim.
Long-haired dogs should be well-clipped for the summer months (now that one is a no-brainer).
Make ice cube treats. Freeze dog (or cat) treats in an ice cube tray with water. Just make sure they’re in a separate part of the freezer so nobody puts them in their drink!
Keeping cats cool
Cats like warm weather and, unlike dogs, are good at keeping themselves cool, with a little help from humans.
Brush your cat daily during the summer months. Matted fur traps heat, whereas air flowing freely through fur will keep your cat cool.
Your cat will find themselves a cool spot in the shade, and when inside they’ll gravitate towards a tile floor or other cool surfaces.
Provide your cat with plenty of water in various places around the house. Cats often prefer their water to be placed away from their food.
Your cat might groom more than usual; this is a cooling trick they use similar to sweating; as the saliva evaporates off their fur the cat will cool down.
Watch your cat’s paws – cats (like dogs) have their sweat glands on their paws; if it’s leaving wet paw prints it means it’s sweating and will need to replace its fluids.
The following links give useful tips and advice on looking after your pets in the heat. Some also tell you how to spot heatstroke in your pet and what to do about it: