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Top Tips To Keep Your Pets Cool During The Heatwave

As temperatures soar it’s important to keep a close eye on all our pets and that includes some of our smaller pet companions too.

If you’re a dog owner please never, ever leave your dog in a car, even for a few minutes and avoid walking your dog in the heat of the day. Remember, hot pavements can burn paws!

Make regular checks on your pets and ensure they always have easy access to plenty of fresh water. Be sure to top water levels up throughout the day.

Provide plenty of shaded areas for your pets and place fans around the house to keep air circulating. However, avoid pointing fans directly at your animals.

For cats and small furries, freeze a bottle of water, wrap it in a towel or pillowcase and place it in an area your pet frequents. Always make sure your pet can get away from the bottle if they choose and ensure it doesn’t leak.

A top tip for cat owners. Place water bowls away from food bowls to keep your cat hydrated and avoid plastic bowls. Instead use glass, ceramic or metal instead. Use a large bowl with a big surface area.

Also consider investing in a water fountain for your cat. Many cats prefer running water. Cooling mats and jackets can also be a great way to keep your dogs cool too.

If your cat has white fur, try to keep your cat indoors in the heat of the day and speak to your vet about suitable sunblock.

Remember that our smaller pets like rabbits and guinea pigs can overheat very quickly too, particularly those kept in wooden hutches and sheds outdoors. Sadly, heatstroke is fatal in many cases, so move them to a cooler, sheltered area indoors, out of direct sunlight.

Look out for signs of heatstroke which include lethargy, panting, reddening of the ears and convulsions

  • If you suspect your rabbit or guinea pig has heatstroke seek veterinary help immediately
  • Invest in a self-cooling mat which can be placed on the floor of the hutch.
  • Place marble tiles or slates in a run to keep it cool which your rabbits or guinea pigs can lie on. Be careful to place them in the shade, not direct sunlight.
  • Consider soaking your rabbits’ or guinea pigs’ leafy greens in icy water or serve fresh from the fridge so they’re nice and cold. Hydrating vegetables such as cucumber can be fed to your guinea pig in moderation at times of extreme heat. Not too much though as this can cause tummy problems.
  • Use a brush to get rid of any excess fur in the hutch as this can make your rabbits or guinea pigs feel hotter.
  • Ensure your guinea pigs and rabbits have plenty of fresh, cool water to stay hydrated and check regularly that the water spout isn’t blocked. Provide more than one source.
  • Dampen your rabbit’s ears with a wet cloth or fine mist, if they’re comfortable with this. Rabbits lose heat through their ears so this will speed up the cooling process. For guinea pigs, dampen their fur with a tepid cloth, or if they’re comfortable with it, spray a fine water mist, but gently and at a distance at first.

Both rabbits and guinea pigs are at higher risk of myiasis, or fly strike, during the summer – particularly those with issues keeping themselves clean due to old age, arthritis or dental problems. So, make sure their bedding is clean.

Pet rats can also find things tough in the hot weather. Rats are nocturnal animals and when awake during the day, prefer to stay cool at an ideal temperature of around 15-20 degrees Celsius.

So, they also need to be moved to a cooler location, preferably indoors with access to fresh, clean air by using a fan, air conditioning unit or by putting their cage next to an open window.

It’s important to keep the room temperature as consistent as possible so close blinds or curtains during the day and leave them open overnight.

A brick or tile surface in their cage can help them cool down too. Brick and tile surfaces do not absorb the heat as much as plastic or other softer surfaces.

Remember, like us, our pets can respond differently to high temperatures so stay alert, monitor their behaviour, move them out of the sun, ensure they have regular, easy access to plenty of fresh water and provide as many cool spots as you can around your home.

By taking these few, simple steps provided by our friends at Bluecross, PDSA and Pets4Homes, you’ll be making life easier for your pet companions during the heatwave.  

Press Office

For media information, images or to speak to a spokesperson about National Pet Month and Pet Care Aware please contact Taz Thornton or Asha Clearwater at Turquoise Tiger on +44 (0)7920 461 044 or email info@nationalpetmonth.org.uk

Please note we have access to a range of spokespeople via our trustees, sponsors and most animal welfare organisations and charities who get involved with NPM.

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