Stay Safe in the Sun this Summer!

Hot summer days are great, but there are lots to bear in mind for your pets. Whilst most of them won’t sit in the sun if they get too hot if you’re out on a walk your dog might not have a choice if you’re not aware of how hot they’re getting. Cats will often find the sunniest spot when inside, the one patch of sun rays coming through the window, but outside you’ll often find they will stick more the to the shade.

In truth, animals are just as likely to get burnt as we are, especially those with pale skin or very short fur. White animals, which often have pink skin, are very likely to burn and are therefore at risk of skin cancer, just the same as us. Sun cream is essential for white cats and dogs, especially ears and pale pink noses, and also bare tummies! Darker coated animals will have better protection, and therefore it’s not such a problem with them.

Another big problem for pets in the heat is their feet ever walked on the pavement with bare feet? At the height of heat it can burn, and on pets pad, this will be even worse. It’s important to ensure you’re not walking at peak temperatures, and try to avoid pavements all together and walk in the grass instead. If you can’t do this, and it’s that hot anyway, better to just not bother with the walk, to be honest, everyone will be too warm to enjoy it!

The most common issues with dogs out in the sun are overheating, or heat stroke. How do you know if this is happening? The most obvious signs are heavy panting, though if your dog has been off playing it can be hard to tell. Gums will often become dry or very pale, and you may find that your dog starts drooling a lot.

If the worst should happen and your pet overheats, what do you do next? Heatstroke is very serious to dogs and can be fatal if not identified and reacted to straight away. The main thing is to ensure they are out of the sun as quickly as possible and get them cooled down. The best way to do this is too cool certain parts of the body first, as they will have the best effect. Do not drape towels or cloth over your pet this can trap the hot air more and make the situation worse.

The most important areas of the body are under the legs and armpits, and under the neck. This more exposed skin will cool quicker and have a more direct impact on your pet’s temperature. Standing in a tub of cool (not ice cold) water will also help, as well as providing drinking water to ensure your pup doesn’t get dehydrated. Paddling pools are great for this, but even a washing up bucket will work go with whatever you have to hand!

The most effective way to combat the sun? Avoid it in peak times, provide plenty of water (although a pool of water doesn’t mean your dog will never have heat issues), and most importantly make sure there is always a large shady area for your pets to escape you. Place the water in the shade, and try to keep activity to a minimum. Walk early or late, and the rest of the day enjoy the sunshine safely.

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