Orchard Vet's Blog

Surviving the summer heat


Today is the hottest day of the year so far, which is a real challenge for those of us who are covered in fur! Dogs are particularly susceptible to heat stroke. While we all know the dangers of keeping pets in cars on hot days, there are plenty of other things we can be doing to make sure our companions keep their cool ...

Hydration - make sure your pets have access to plenty of clean water. Put water bowls in different spots at home so that it's readily available and consider adding a couple of ice cubes to keep it cool. When you go out, take a lightweight plastic bowl and a bottle of water with you. Give pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs water-rich snacks such as apple.

Shade - all animals need access to shade to shelter from the sun. Make sure your pet is in the shade if they're out and can hide indoors if you're at home. Remember, pets don't wear shoes and hot paving, sand or asphalt can burn their paws.

Exercise - reduce the length of walks your dog has on hot days (on really hot days, cut out exercise altogether), and try to go at cooler hours to keep out of the sun: early in the morning or later in the evening.

Bathing - stroking your cat with a damp towel or flannel mimics their grooming technique and can really help to cool them down. Consider using the hot weather as an excuse to let your dog swim: set up a kids pool or a wet towel for your dog to lie on.

Panting - dogs primarily lose heat by panting, but be aware that certain dog breeds cannot pant effectively and are therefore more susceptible to heatstroke. These include Pugs, Boston terriers, Staffies, Bulldogs and Pekingese.

Hair - your pets coat offers protection from the sun's rays (so it definitely shouldn't be shaved off!) but trimming long hair can help heat loss. Brushing is more likely to help though, as it removes loose fur and help prevent overheating. §