Keep your pets safe during hot weather

Keep your pets safe during hot weather

With forecasters predicting a long spell of hot weather vets are warning pet owners to be aware of the problems a heatwave can cause cats, dogs and other pets.

Most people know not to leave pets in cars on a warm or hot day, but not everyone is aware that conservatories or caravans can be just as bad with temperatures rising dangerously high, quicker than you might think.

"Even when it feels relatively mild outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach up to 130 degrees in less than 30 minutes.
While most people think about dogs and cats, we must also help our pet rabbits, guinea pigs and other small pets keep safe in the summer heat."

Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe this summer

Rabbits, guinea pigs and other small pets
• Always make sure pets have access to move about and find shade and cooler areas.
• Hutch roofs should be solid in order to keep the sun off and runs should also have shady covered areas too. Just remember that as the sun moves throughout the day the shade will move too, so keep an eye out for that
• Move indoor cages out of direct sunlight into a cooler part of the house
• Keep clean fresh water topped up regularly, checking it at least twice a day.
• Don’t forget the danger of fly strike in rabbits and check their bottoms at least twice a day in this weather when so many flies are about.
• Rabbits and guinea pigs are particularly vulnerable to heatstroke so take extra care of them in warmer weather. Signs of heatstroke in small mammals including lethargy, drooling and shallow rapid breathing

What to do if you suspect heatstroke:
1. Call your vet
2. Take your pet to a cooler place out of direct sunlight and wrap them in a cool damp towel
3. Do not immerse your pet in cold water

Cats and Dogs
• Make sure cats and dogs have plenty of fresh, cold water available at all times
• Check and top up at least twice a day and consider leaving water in more than one place so they are never too far from a bowl. Putting ice cubes in the bowl will keep the water nice and cool and encourage them to drink more
• When pets are outdoors, make sure they always have access to shade
• Use pet sun block to protect any areas not protected by fur like tips of ears and noses, especially white ones
• Walk your dog’s either early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day
• Consider having pets with long fur clipped to make them more comfortable during the hot weather
• Watch out for signs of heatstroke and call your vet straight away for advice if concerned. Signs of heatstroke can include excessive panting, extreme salivation, distress and anxious behaviour, dark red gums and a rapid heart rate

What to do if you suspect heatstroke:
1. Call your vet straight away
2. Take your pet somewhere cooler and shower them with cool water especially around their head and neck.
3. Do not use ice cold water as this will reduce their temperature too quickly
4. Allow them to drink as much as they want but in small quantities at a time
5. Use a fan to increase airflow to help the cooling and vigorously massage their legs to help maintain the blood flow

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