How To Look After Your Pets in The Sun

Last week I shared a post which talked through 15 ways that you can become more environmentally sustainable, and the response was brilliant. I’m going to be talking through this in detail in a post later in the week, but lately I’ve been feeling very low about the online world. I won’t dive in right now, but basically – researching and talking about something that genuinely matters in the world was really fulfilling for me. I loved using the platform that I’ve built for something that might make a difference, albeit a small one.

Today’s post is going to follow suit and hopefully be somewhat educational & of value to people. We’re in the midst of a wonderful heat wave in Ireland at the moment, but I really worry about how our furry friends are coping. So if you have a dog, cat, rabbit or guinea pig, I hope you’ll keep reading to make sure that you’re doing your best for your pet in the heat.

I want to preface the following points by stating the obvious – I am not a vet or an expert in this field, but these are a few pointers that I found when researching the topic. My sister is training to be a vet though, so these are kind of backed up by her experience and (extensive) knowledge on the topic. I also received a press release last week from Village Vets who are doing their utmost to make sure our animals are protected in the heat, so some pointers are coming from them too.

Side note: Village Vets are hosting a series of First Aid Classes for pet owners in the Dublin/Meath area this week. For more informations on these, click this link.

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe in The Heat

5 Second Rule – if you lay the back of your hand on tarmac and can’t keep it there for 5 seconds because it’s too hot, then this is means it’s too hot for your pets to walk on.

No Walkies – in the height of the afternoon heat, it’s just too hot to bring your dogs out for long walks. They’ll get dehydrated very quickly – it’s better to just keep them at home where they can stay cool. If you want to bring them out for a run, try doing so first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening.

Hydration Station – make sure they always have lots of fresh water. Also make sure to rinse their water bowls each day – we’ve noticed lots of bugs landing in Geoff & Harry’s bowl so you’re better off to make sure these are gone.

Time for a Chop – if your dog is the type of breed that can be groomed and have a haircut, make sure you get them one. Short haired dogs will be fine as they shed, but a dog like Geoff needs to have his hair cut every second month.

*Make sure you triple check that your dog is suitable for hair cuts. I know some long haired dogs that have double coats (Husky’s for example) and it is recommended that they don’t get them cut.

Cars – so we all know that you should never ever leave your dog in the car alone under any circumstances. Even with the windows down, or if you’re just gone for a few minutes – don’t do it! It’s so dangerous. What if you got distracted, or something happened to you while you were gone? The dog would suffer a horrible death overheating in the car. On the radio during the week, they were recommending that you don’t drive with pets in the afternoon heat. If they’re in the boot, the sun will be beaming down on them and they’ll overheat. Similarly to walkies, try drive them places first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Shade/Indoors – we’ve noticed that our two are scoping out the coolest place in our house and hiding there throughout the day. They’re finding it’s too hot outside. If you do need to keep your dog outdoors, make sure there is somewhere in the garden that is shaded for them to chill out. We even have a paddling pool for Geoff!

BBQ Leftovers – in the press release I received from Village Vets, they mentioned that a number of dogs have required surgery lately to remove the likes of jumbo sausages and other BBQ leftovers that they’ve been fed or gotten a hold of. Be really careful if you’re having a BBQ and have dogs around.

Dogs at Risk – if your pet is a senior citizen, overweight, suffers from any other illnesses, make sure to keep an extra close eye on them in the heat. They’re more likely to have a bad reaction like heatstroke.

Water Bowls – if, like ours, your water bowl is stainless steel, make sure you keep it in the shade at all times. The metal getting hot will heat up the water and it will be less effective in cooling your pets down.

A few more tips for cat owners

SPF – I’m not a cat owner but Village Vets recommend Factor 50 SPF for white cats as they can be prone to skin cancer! Who knew!?

Wet Food – this is best for cats in the heat as it helps to keeps hydration levels up.

Microchipped – outdoor cats apparently do a lot of wandering, so if they’re on the hunt for somewhere cool they could stray a little too far. Make sure they are microchipped!

Indoors – if you have an indoor cat, make sure they have plenty of shade and somewhere cool to relax.

 

I have absolutely zero experience with smaller animals, so here is what the guys at Village Vets recommend…

Top Tips for rabbits and guinea pigs in hot weather – watch out for signs of heat exhaustion

  • Make sure rabbits and guinea pigs can access shade if they live outdoors. Place their hutch in a cool area with good airflow and move it around shadiest parts of the garden as the sun moves
  • Avoid plastic hutches as they can get extremely hot under the sun, and opt for wood instead
  • Place ice packs around the cage for them to lean up against if they want to cool themselves down. Make your own ice packs by freezing 2L bottles of water
  • Leave out several bowls of fresh, cool water and top them up regularly. Keep an eye on them to make sure they drink plenty
  • If they are housed indoors normally, ensure air conditioning is on
  • Do not expose rabbits to sudden changes in temperature I.e. from hot to cold. Outdoor rabbits get used to hot environments and don’t need to be brought in during the heat of the day
  • Rabbits lose a lot of heat through their ears, so you can aid this process by misting their ears regularly with cool water
  • Guinea pigs can’t dissipate heat as easily as rabbits because their ears are tiny – it is important to keep guinea pigs inside during high temperatures
  • Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion such as disinterest in food, lethargy, lying on their side, rapid breathing, unresponsiveness or convulsions. If you suspect heat stroke, dampen their ears and body with cool water as you prepare to visit the vet. Do NOT submerge them or use freezing water as this can cause them to go into shock

So anyway, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful

Have a wonderful Monday & enjoy the sun!

Niamh xx

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