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How to protect your pets in the summer

shutterstock_285751448The temperature is slowly but surely creeping up which means that summer is almost upon us. Anyone who has a pet knows that they love nothing more than relaxing in the sunshine but when it’s hotter than usual, it’s very important to protect your pet from the heat.

Below are just a few of the ways you can ensure that your pet is well looked after this summer.

Make sure they have plenty of fresh water 

Just like we drink more in the summer, so do our pets so make sure they always have a supply of fresh water. Not only does this help to keep them hydrated and cool, it can also help to protect against heat stroke. 

Don’t leave dogs in cars 

Most people are wising up to this but please don’t ever leave your dog in the car. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, you park in the shade and leave a window slightly open – it is not safe to do this. Cars become very hot very quickly and even when it’s 22 degrees outside, a car can reach a staggering 47 degrees within just one hour.

The RSPCA has issued guidelines about what to do if you see a dog in a car and how to help an animal you suspect might have heat stroke. 

Keep your pet indoors at the hottest time of the day 

Typically, we’re told to stay out of the sun during 11am and 3pm because this is the hottest time of the day but often, temperatures can actually peak from 3pm onwards. It’s wise to get a thermometer or use an app on your phone to keep an eye on the temperature and try to avoid walking your dog during these times.

Aside from the fact that it will be very warm outside, pavements can become scorching hot and your dog’s paws may get damaged as a result.

Your cat might not appreciate this but try to keep them indoors when the temperatures are particularly high. If this isn’t possible, make sure there’s plenty of shade in your garden as this will be a bit cooler for them. Also ensure that rabbit hutches are kept in the shade at all times and that there’s a covered part they can seek shelter in at the hottest times of the day.

Know the signs of heat stroke  

Being able to spot the signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion could save your pet’s life. If you notice any of the following, please seek advice from a vet immediately:
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  • High temperature
  • Excessive panting
  • Dark or bright red tongue and gums
  • Sticky or dry tongue or gums
  • Staggering
  • Stupor
  • Seizures
  • Bloody diarrhoea or vomiting

Haircut 

Chances are that you wouldn’t walk around in a fur coat in the middle of summer so bear in mind that this is exactly what your pet is doing. You can help them by giving them a summer haircut to prevent them from overheating. Don’t be tempted to completely shave them however because they need one inch of protection to avoid getting sunburnt.

Bluecross offers further information about keeping your pet safe in the sun including travelling with them, what to do when you’re on holiday and how to keep horses safe from the sun.