Keep your pets safe during a heatwave

You may have to create shade or move animals in cages or hutches to help them escape the heat. Cats can be independent, but they will often get into sheds and greenhouses. Heatstroke can occur if cats are locked in a shed or garage.

If you allow your pets, like cats or dogs, to be outside, provide them with cool, shady areas to rest. Make sure that all pets can access fresh water to stay hydrated. Water for pets to play or lie in is a great idea to keep them cool.

You can also help your pets by providing them with a cool surface to lay on and frozen treats. Air conditioning and fans are great ways to keep pets cool.

For many years, the Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign has highlighted this danger. However, many more dogs suffer heatstroke while on a walk. Keep activity levels low during hot weather, and take your dog for a walk only at cooler times.

It is best to walk your dog in the morning, preferably in a shady area with water nearby. Take water with you if there is no water available on the route. Puzzle feeders and training sessions (devices that release food when the pet solves the puzzle) are great ways to tire out dogs if it is too hot for them to go outside.

More than 50% of dogs who are taken to the vet with severe heatstroke will die. If in doubt, do not take your dog out.

In a hot vehicle, any pet can suffer from heatstroke. Consider how to keep your pet cool during the trip, and in case you break down or get stuck in traffic. If you must travel with your pet, make sure to keep them supervised. When possible, please provide them with water, shade, and air conditioning.

Heatstroke can affect any animal, even older or overweight pets. Heatstroke is also more likely to affect animals with flat faces, such as French Bulldogs, cats, and rabbits.

Heatstroke is more likely to occur in animals with flat faces. phol_66/Shutterstock

Early treatment is essential.

Check on your pets frequently in hot weather to see if they show signs of heatstroke.

Initially, any pet suffering from heatstroke will pant more and breathe faster. The pet may become fatigued, stutter when walking, or lose energy. Untreated, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and collapse. The death risk increases at this stage.

If you suspect that your pet may be suffering from heatstroke, act quickly. The best way to lower their body temperature is by cooling them down quickly. Move them to a cooler surface and away from the source. If you are in a real emergency, then they should be cooled with water.

Pour any available water on them. This can be tap water, bottled water, or even water from a kid’s swimming pool. Make sure that their head does not touch the water if they are unconscious.

As towels can act as insulation, avoid putting them over your pet. Seek veterinary advice as soon as you can, as any delay in treatment could prove fatal.


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