How to keep pets cool on hot days


You may think that looking after your pets in hot weather comes down to common sense, but... never hurts to go back over the basics. So here's a brief guide to keeping dogs, cats and other common pets cool this summer.


Dogs aren't much good at keeping themselves cool, so you'll need to help them. Here's how:

Don't leave your dog in a car, even for a few minutes. An open window or a windshield screen isn't enough to keep the car cool. According to the RSPCA, if it's 22C outside, within an hour it can be 47C inside a car. Dogs die this way every year – don't let yours be one of them.

Don't even leave your dog in a glass conservatory or a caravan. The same rules apply as for cars.

Do provide your dog with plenty of water, both in the house and on walks. If you are leaving your dog at home alone, make sure its bowl can't be knocked over.

Do keep one room in your house cool and well-ventilated by drawing curtains and opening windows if there is a breeze, so your dog can lie down there if it is getting hot.

Don't leave your dog outside all day. If it is unavoidable, ensure it has shade and water and check on it regularly.

Do keep an eye on your dog if it is outside. Animals will try to drink anything if they are thirsty. For example, they like the sweet taste of anti-freeze.

Don't take your dog for a long walk in the heat of the day. Go in the early morning or late evening, and make the walk shorter than usual.

Do apply pet sunscreen if your dog has a light-coloured nose or ears. Mammals burn just like humans, and can even develop skin cancer.

Do have long-coated dogs clipped, and groom all breeds regularly.

Don't treat all dogs equally. Take extra care with fat or muscular dogs, those with short or flat noses, long-haired breeds, young puppies, old dogs, and those with a disease or who are on medication.

Don't ignore the signs of heatstroke. The RSPCA has issued a checklist: heavy panting; profuse salivation; a rapid pulse; very red gums/tongue; lethargy; lack of coordination; reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing; vomiting; diarrhoea; loss of consciousness in extreme circumstances.

Do take immediate action if your dog is displaying any of these symptoms. Cool it down gradually and then take it straight to the vets – heatstroke can be fatal. To cool your dog, douse it in cool water (not cold) and let it drink small quantities of cool water, until its breathing has steadied.

Do be aware that up to a third of dogs may suffer from hayfever, which can lead to skin irritations that could become infected. Take your dog to the vet if it is scratching excessively.

Read the full article, including how to keep your cats, small furries and horses cool,  on the Guardian website