What Do I Do If My Pet Is Hot?

Pomeranian dog asleep on frozen bottle of water keeping cool

\\\ Pets In Hot Weather

How Do I keep My Pet Cool?

With thermometers reaching new temperatures around the globe, keeping your pet cool during warmer months now brings some new challenges.

There are plenty of ways to try and keep your pets cooler, perhaps you have some tried and tested pet cooling ideas that you can add to our list? Please do contact us with those.

Pets And Hot Weather Don’t Mix Well

Just like humans, pets become uncomfortable when temperatures start to rise and we read all kinds of strange stories about pets behaving in strange ways and worse, owners forgetting to leave pets with fresh air and plentiful water.

Very sad stories emerge every year of police breaking into parked cars, and rescuing dogs that are badly dehydrated with distraught owners watching them trying to revive them thinking that popping into a shop for ten minutes, leaving dogs in parked vehicles with closed windows, during a hot weather spell wouldn’t really matter.

In the UK, members of the public can be charged with animal cruelty if the pet becomes ill or dies, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.  Drivers can be jailed for six months and slapped with an unlimited fine.  

The simple answer is not to take your dogs out in the car unless absolutely necessary in hot weather and provide them circulating air and take with you lots more fresh water in bottles to provide them at intervals at regular pet break stops.

Pugs, bulldogs and greyhounds are more susceptible to suffer in high temperatures and any dog with a thick coat.

Signs that dogs are struggling in the heat

  • Losing their appetite. This is not necessarily a problem unless they consume significantly less food or vomit after eating.
  • Constantly moving from one position to another trying to seek the coolest place.
  • Excessive drooling, panting and gulping water, thirsty. 

Signs of extreme heat exhaustion in dogs are panting heavily, drooling excessively, drowsy, uncoordinated, lethargic, vomiting, even collapse. 

For more information, you can contact the RSPCA’s specialist helpline on 0300 1234 999. 

Important

  • Never keep dogs locked in cars for long periods particularly in hot weather. 
  • Never lock your dog in a conservatory as these can get unbearably hot.
  • Don’t annoy dogs, they too can get irritable in hot weather just like humans.
Dog, in paddling pool

16 Pet Check Tips To Keep Dogs Cool

  1. Keep plenty of freshwaters available in dog bowls around the home 24/7.
  2. Fresh crushed small ice cubes in dogs water bowls which helps to keep the water cooler for longer. (Don’t use large as these can hurt dogs teeth if they try to crunch them).
  3. Avoid taking dog walks at midday and early afternoons when the temperatures are at their hottest.
  4. Make sure your dog’s bed isn’t in direct sunlight and that your pet has areas around the home to access all day where there’s the shade. Create shade by closing blinds and curtains, if necessary.
  5. Soak a towel in cold water and lie it on their waterproof dog bed to help them lie on a cooler surface.
  6. Keep walks to grassy cooler surfaces rather than hot tarmac pavements and surfaces that can burn paws.
  7. Feed your dog an hour after exercising or at least an hour before.
  8. Trim your dog’s coat if they are particularly furry, long-haired breeds to help cope with the warmer temperatures. Keep your dog regularly brushed to take off excess hair. This does help.
  9. Dog cooling coats are an option. Jackets that can be refrigerated and worn by your dog to keep them cool is known to reduce their temperature.
  10. Dog cooling mats are also useful, tried and tested to help dogs stay cooler.
  11. Kongs with treats filled such as peanut butter can be put in the freezer and frozen. This will keep your pet interested for longer and be a lovely cool snack.
  12. Small paddling pools can be fun and help your dog to cool down, put in a shady position in the garden and the water will stay cooler for longer.
  13. Treats such apple slices and carrot slices can be frozen and these will last longer. (No apple pips as these are toxic).
  14. Always carry water and a travel bowl for your thirsty dog when out on journeys. 
  15. Use sunshades on vehicle windows to help lower the interior temperature and use your vehicle air conditioning if possible.
  16. Try and park your vehicle in a shady position to keep the temperature lower in warmer months if travelling with pets.

Keeping Your Cat Cool

Cats suffer just as dogs do in hot weather. Whilst their originate from hot sandy desert environments, they adapted to sleep during the day and hunt in the cool of the night.

Our domestic cats have really not changed that much particularly when it warms up. Cats will try and keep as cools as they can during the day around the home, or find a shady spot in the garden, typically behind a shed, and go out night hunting following their feral instincts when it’s cooler, later.

Helping to keep your cat cool is important so we’ve provided a few tried and tested tips. Cats that have thick coats are at greater risk so it’s imperative to brush out fur regularly to try and help them keep cooler, likewise overweight larger cats, old and very young, and those with breathing and lung problems are at the highest risk of heatstroke.

Cats sweat through their paw pads and will pant if they are extremely hot.

The signs of heatstroke in your cat as provided by the RSPCA in your pet are

  • Appearing to be distressed, perhaps confused.
  • Dribbling
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Panting heavily

10 Pet Check Tips To Keep Cats Cool

  1. Dedicate one room where all the shutters, curtains and blinds are shut or closed down during the day but windows behind them open providing draught, if you are without air conditioning. This will help to prevent the room from reaching higher temperatures with direct sunlight.
  2. If you cannot close curtains and blinds, etc., then make sure your cat’s bed or blanket isn’t in direct sunlight in the room.
  3. Use a fan to help keep the room temperature down.
  4. Move a comfortable bed for your cat or blanket into the room, litter tray and plenty of fresh cool water.
  5. Replace your cats water several times during the day.
  6. Don’t feed when it’s the hottest, although cats like to eat throughout the days in small amounts.
  7. Adjust feed times to earlier morning and earlier evening and provide some dry kibble during the day. Processed wet cat foods can smell if left out in hot weather and attracts bacteria very quickly.
  8. Try not to let your cat go out during the hottest times of the day.
  9. Keep your cat well brushed particularly if they have a thicker coat during the hot period as it will help to thin out their coat and help the keep them cooler.
  10. If they are really suffering, use a cool wet towel and place over their body for a few minutes only. After five minutes, it may start acting as an insulator.

Ice water can shock so it’s important just to be cool fresh water. If you are worried about your pet take immediate advice from your vet.

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