The sun is starting to make more of an appearance and will soon (fingers crossed) be playing a starring role in our weather for the next few months. Most people love the warm weather and sunshine, it makes you feel happy and lifts your mood if you see the sun shining and can feel the warmth on your skin. However, there are many hidden dangers in the warm weather and bright sunshine we are soon to experience. This happens every year and yet there are still pets that are not cared for properly during the warmer months, which is very sad. A lot of what needs to be done is common sense but it’s never a bad idea to have a reminder, so below we will list some sun safe tips for you. Please feel free to share this blog with your pet owning friends and family so we can keep reducing sun related incidents and deaths.
- Ensure your pet has access to fresh cold water at all times at home.
- Add ice cubes to your pet’s water bowl on hot days to keep their water extra cool and refreshing.
- Invest in a cooling mat, these can be bought in a range of sizes suitable for cats and dogs of all sizes.
- If you have rabbits, guinea pigs and other small furries, please ensure their cage or hutch is out of direct sunlight and provide as much shade as possible.
- See if your dog will wear a cooling jacket, especially when you are out for the day and are not sure if there will be many shady spots.
- Dogs love to play with and cool down in water so a paddling pool in your garden is a fantastic way to keep them cool and have some fun doing it. Don’t forget to put your swimwear on though as you are likely to get wet too!
- Keep a close eye on your white and light coloured cats and dogs to ensure they do not suffer with sunburn if they are in the sun a lot. Areas where fur is thinner and skin is more exposed like around their nose, ears, eyelids and tummy will be more at risk of sunburn.
- DO NOT EVER leave any animal in a car unattended for any length of time. Even if you think you will only be less than 1 minute. You never know how long you will be or how hot your car will get. Dogs die in hot cars every year and it is truly heart breaking. This should not still be happening in 2020 but it does, so we clearly need to keep spreading the message.
- If you see an animal left in a car unattended, call the police immediately and explain the situation and ask for advice. The animal needs to be released from the car asap in the safest way possible.
- Make up your own “dog walking pack/bag” if you don’t already have one, A water bottle with cold fresh water and a bowl for your dog is absolutely essential. A cooler block will help keep the water cold. A snack or some treats for your dog, a few first aid items and your vets phone number should also be in the pack in case you need it in an emergency while you are out.
- Always walk dogs during the coolest part of the day e.g. early morning or later evening. Do not walk them when it is hot, pavements can get so hot they will burn your dog’s paw pads, which would be very sore and uncomfortable.
A quick and easy way to test if it is too hot to walk your dog is to take your shoes and socks off and walk barefoot on the pavement or touch the pavement with the back of your hand. If it’s too hot that you can’t walk on it or touch the path with the back of your hand and hold it there for several seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on with their bare paws.
- Create shady cool areas in your garden so your pets have somewhere cool and relaxing to rest.
- Be careful opening upstairs windows if you have cats, especially young cats and kittens, they will be curious and it would be devastating if they fell. We don’t open any windows in our house except for the Velux windows in the kitchen as it’s physically impossible for our cats to get up to those windows! It does make the house much warmer, especially upstairs but we uses fans instead.
- Google recipes for frozen treats you can make for your pets. There are loads to try from banana pup pops to peanut butter popsicles!
- Please be aware if you have artificial grass in your garden it can get very hot, much hotter than normal grass. We saw a Facebook post recently showing normal grass vs artificial grass temperatures, it’s quite an eye opener. Normal grass in the shade was 27.8 degrees C whereas artificial grass in the shade was 34.1 degrees C. Normal grass in the sun was 38.1 degrees C whereas artificial grass in the sun was a whopping 62.3 degrees C!
Hopefully these suggestions, whilst not an exhaustive list will give you some great ideas on how to keep your pet’s cool and happy during these warmer months. Please share this information with your pet owning friends and family so we can prevent innocent animals suffering in the heat due to lack of awareness.