Pets can't tell us when they're too hot or uncomfortable in their fur coats, so it's important for us to ensure they remain happy and healthy in the heat. PDSA Vet Vicki Larkham has put together these top tips for pet owners:
- Never leave pets in cars, conservatories or caravans. Not even for just a few minutes. Even on a cloudy day the temperature can rise very quickly, and you may end up being away for longer than you anticipated. Heatstroke can be fatal and every year we hear sad stories of pets that have died.
- Provide plenty of fresh, clean water and be on hand to provide plenty of refills.
- Provide plenty of shade and indoor cages should also be kept well away from the window to avoid long periods of direct sunlight. Don't let your pet lie in direct sunlight for too long.
- Protect them with pet sunscreen. These are available from all good pet stores and can be used on areas of white fur or on pets with only a thin covering of hair. Protect vulnerable areas, such as the nose and, particularly for cats, the tips of the ears.
- Enjoy a tidy BBQ - always tidy up leftovers and rubbish and skip the scraps to avoid upsetting your pet's stomach. Along with the food, be mindful of your drinks. Alcohol can be particularly hazardous for pets and glass bottles or cups can be easily knocked over and smashed.
- Having your pet's fur trimmed. This is a great way to help prevent overheating.
- Take extra care when travelling. If you're going away in the car, keep windows open - but not wide enough for pets to get through.
- Watch out for overheating. The signs of heat stroke start with excessive panting and can progress to fatal collapse. Keep a sharp eye and keep your nearest vet's phone number handy just in case.. If your pet does get too hot, wrap them in a cool damp towel, changing it regularly with a fresh damp one.
Vicki said: "Many animals can struggle to keep cool in very hot weather - they can't sweat like humans can and rely on panting to regulate their body temperature - so prolonged hot weather can be quite uncomfortable for our pets. By following PDSA's summer safety tips owners can ensure our pets also have a safe and fun summer."