Heat stroke is one of the biggest pet killers during the summer, which is a shame because it is so avoidable. Follow our tips to avoid falling victim to it this year:
1. ALWAYS make sure your pet has access to clean drinking water. Keep it out of the sun to make sure its cool.
2. Shade is critical; make sure your animals have access to shade throughout the day. For rabbits and guinea pigs the hutch should always be kept in the shade to mimic the cool of a burrow.
3. Let your pet exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when its coolest to prevent them getting worn out.
4. Grooming (yes, even on short-haired) will help by completely removing the winter coat so they don’t hold in excess heat. Clip long-haired breeds or tie their coats up to allow air circulation.
5. Never, ever leave an animal locked in a car - even if a window is open or you’ll on be a few minutes. It takes just minutes for the heat to reach 40 degrees or higher and is the most common cause of heatstroke in dogs despite the annual campaign. The same goes for conservatories, tents, caravans and any room that gets particularly hot.
6. Panting is not an effective way of keeping cool, but it can be a useful warning sign of discomfort in your pet.
7. Small animal? Try frozen pieces of fruit for an animal-friendly ice lolly. Alternatively, try a bottle of frozen water with a cloth over for them to sit or lean on. You might need to show them what to do by placing it against their body though!
Signs of danger include fast and shallow breathing, slobbering/ wet nose or chin, rapid pulse, listlessness, staggering, hot to touch (especially the ears on rabbits and guinea pigs), dark or bright red tongue and gums or seizures. If you see or suspect any of these, immediately move the pet to somewhere cooler and ALWAYS seek veterinary help.