It’s not just us humans that notice the change in temperature when the summer arrives, our pets do too. As the weather improves, pets need to adjust and owners need to be aware of the potential hazards that summer brings. Most importantly, you need to make sure your pets have adequate shelter from the sun and access to fresh water. The main challenge is to ensure your pets are able to keep cool when the weather gets really hot.
Here are some things you need to think about.
Pet hutches and cages should be kept out of direct sunlight in the shade. Try and find a cooler part of your garden to put cages in the summer. Check that their shelter doesn’t get too warm on a regular basis throughout the summer. Make sure you clear out your pet’s cages through the summer so that air can circulate through them properly. Take out any unnecessary bedding and check they have places to hide away from the sun.
Your pets should have a constant supply of clean, fresh water, especially in the summer. Animals can become dehydrated faster than you might think, so make sure you are constantly checking whether they have enough water.
You may need to adjust your pet’s diet in the summer time depending on how active they are. Also be aware that pet food can go off more quickly in warmer weather. Store pet food out of direct sunlight.
A big danger for pets in the summer is heatstroke. Heatstroke can occur very quickly so it’s important to be aware of the signs and also take steps to prevent it occurring in the first place.
Signs of heatstroke include fever, dizziness, excessive panting, difficulty breathing, lack of coordination, vomiting and excessive thirst. Small animals can easily suffer heatstroke as well as very young, old and overweight pets. Some breeds of dog such as Shih Tzus, Pugs and Bulldogs are more susceptible to heatstroke, especially when they have breathing difficulties..
Transporting your pet
It’s also important to be aware of the heat when you are transporting your pet. They should have access to water whilst travelling and have enough ventilation to stay cool.
It’s not just when your car is stationary that you should be concerned about your pet overheating. Keep the windows open whilst travelling and never leave your pets in the car unattended. If you have to take your pet on a long journey make sure they have lots of breaks and you check on them regularly.
If you plan to take your pet on holiday with you then be sure to pack everything they need to stay comfortable and cool during your trip.
All pets should be well groomed throughout the year. You should groom your pet on a regular basis and ensure their coat doesn’t become matted. A well brushed out coat will provide better ventilation for your pet as cool air will be able to pass through their coat. A lot of owners assume that cutting their pets hair (especially dogs) really short will help to keep them cool in the summer. If your pet’s coat is too short they could suffer skin damage and sunburn.
Exercise in the summer
Physical activity and exercise should be limited on particularly hot days. Don’t let your pets out during the hottest part of the day (between 12 and 2). Try and exercise pets during cooler periods such as early in the morning or in the evening. Don’t leave pets out in the sunshine for too long as they could overheat. Also be careful not to over exercise pets in the summer, for example taking a dog on a really long run on a hot day probably isn’t a good idea.
Shelter delicate skin
Make sure you look after your pet’s skin in the summer, as they too can suffer from sunburn and serious skin damage. Try and keep them out of direct sunlight for long periods of time. Some pets with shorter coats or a lack or hair might burn their skin if they are left in the sun for too long.
There are some parasites that are more common during the summer months. For example, maggots are more of a risk to rabbits in warmer weather. Check your rabbit’s bottom regularly for maggots and if you see any take them straight to the vet. Other parasites to look out for (particularly on dogs) are hookworms, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, ticks and heartworms.
Some pets can suffer from seasonal allergies. Allergies can cause a lot of discomfort. Some dogs can suffer quite badly from allergies such as flea reactions, skin allergies and reactions to certain plants. Keep an eye on your pet and take them straight to the vet if you think they are having an allergic reaction.
In the home
Remember that it can get very hot inside a house as well as outside. Don’t leave your pets at home on their own on a really hot day with no windows open. Houses can become very hot very quickly and your pets can overheat. If it is too hot for you inside then it’s probably too hot for your pets as well. Try and keep your home well ventilated in the summer months if you have pets but having the windows and doors open as much as possible.
You might also want to consider changing your pet’s bedding in the summer. For example, some beds are far too warm for dogs in the summer. Click here to see our range of dog beds.