Keeping your pets cool in the heatwave
- 19 July 2013
Loads of us are sweating in the heatwave - but pet owners need to think about their animal friends too!
RSPCA chief inspector Dermot Murphy says: "Many animals can't sweat through their skin in the same way as humans and only cool down by panting and sweating through glands in their feet."
He advises simple things such as moving animals out of direct sunlight, topping up drinking water and waiting until the cooler part of the day to walk your dog or ride your horse.
The biggest issue is dogs being left in hot cars. Mr Murphy says: "Dogs should never be left alone in a vehicle."
The golden rule for animals, as with humans, is to keep them hydrated with a constant supply of clean drinking water.
Other tips for protecting your pets
- Keep pets out of direct sunlight and ensure they can get to a cool, shady place at all times.
- Water in fish tanks should be kept clean, well oxygenated and free of algae.
- Protect your pet from sunburn. Animals can get sunburnt too, especially those with light coloured noses, or light coloured fur on their ears. Ask your vet for advice on pet-safe sunscreens.
- Be aware of the signs of heatstroke. In dogs, the signs include excessive panting, heavy salivation, rapid pulse, very red gums or tongue, lethargy and a lack of co-ordination. If you think your pet has heatstroke, move them to a shaded and cool area, douse them with cold water, and contact your vet immediately.
- Caged birds enjoy being misted with water. With reptiles make sure thermostats are working in temperature-controlled tanks.
How are you keeping your pets cool?
We want to know how you're keeping your pets cool in the heat. Perhaps you're feeding them chilled pet food? Or taking them to the beach for a dip?
This chat page is now closed but you can read some of the comments below.
I put a few ice cubes in my cat's water dish which keeps her cool and she can play with them!
My dog Pippin has been sleeping and drinking water all the time. We have had the fans on around the house and she loves the fan blowing in her face.
Chloe, Glasgow, Scotland
I keep my three dogs cooled off by refilling their water a lot, making ice cubes in the freezer, and I have this thing where I cover one of their waterproof toys in water and put it in the freezer for a while. I take the toy out when there's frost on the toy.
Greta, Summerville, Canada
I keep my hamster cool by feeding him carrots from the fridge.
Elise, Ilford, England
We have two cats so we let them laze around in the day, but we let them out in the night when it's cooler for them to play.
Sydney, Briton Ferry, Wales
I keep my puppy cool by having my swimming pool out and letting her in it.
Flavia, Essex, England
I have a cat and a dog. We let the cat laze around in the sun and take the dog to the beach.
Annie, Nairn, Scotland