JUST like many owners, pets love a bit of sunshine – but it can KILL them.
One in seven dogs who are exposed to too much heat will die. And a dog trapped in a hot car can die within SIX minutes.
But despite those startling figures, during last week’s heatwave the RSPCA learned of dogs dying on walks. A further 49 trapped in hot cars were reported to the charity.
Dogs can get heatstroke walking or playing in hot weather, even at the beach or just sitting in the garden.
RSPCA pet welfare expert Lisa Hens urged readers: “If you’re planning an outing check the venue is dog-friendly or consider leaving your pet at home. Never, ever leave your pet unattended in a stationary vehicle during warm weather.
“Please take care when taking your dog for a walk or exercising your horse and avoid going out during the hottest parts of the day.
“Pavements can get very hot and could burn your dog’s paws.”
Sophie Minot, owner of pet care site thorspaws.co.uk, said: “We have seen sales of our wax — which protects and nourishes burnt and damaged paws — go through the roof during the hot weather because of the sun damage from pavements.”
While we have sweat glands all over our bodies to cool us, dogs and cats only have a few in their feet and around their noses.
Many animals rely on panting and external cooling to lose heat but their coats mean this isn’t easy as the temperatures rise.
‘TRAGIC AND AVOIDABLE’
Older, overweight, flat-faced dogs suffer greatly, and some breeds are more susceptible, including the bulldog, French bulldog, chow chow, dogue de Bordeaux, greyhound, pug, cavalier King Charles spaniel, golden retriever and springer spaniel.
The British Veterinary Association says signs of overheating include excessive panting even at rest, bright red or blue gums, being unsteady, diarrhoea or vomiting and fitting.
If you notice any of these signs, get the dog out of the sun, cool them with water and contact your vet.
Pet Vet Sean says: “We’ve seen a huge rise in dog ownership in the past 18 months, many of them first-time dog owners, so it may not be obvious that heatstroke is such an issue in this weather.
“It’s a tragic and avoidable condition so my advice is don’t risk your dog being overheated.
“Things can change rapidly and your dog can go downhill in a scarily short time.
“If you think your dog is in distress due to overheating, call your vet for advice ASAP.”
Top ten tips from the RSPCA to keep your pets safe in a heatwave:
- Don’t let your pet get sunburnt — use pet-safe sun cream.
- Ensure access to shade and fresh drinking water at all times.
- Never leave pets in vehicles, caravans, conservatories or outbuildings in the warm weather.
- Keep fish tanks out of direct sunlight and top up pond water.
- Watch out for wildlife when mowing or strimming — snakes are most active in June/July.
- If a pavement is too hot for you to touch, it’s too hot for a paw.
- Buy a cooling mat, wrap a frozen water bottle in a tea towel, or use damp towels for your pet to lie on.
- Don’t exercise dogs and horses at very hot times.
- Avoid transporting farm animals in hot weather unless it’s vital.
- Snakes, tortoises and exotic pets are good at escaping, so check vivariums are secure and take care if letting reptiles exercise in the garden.
Ask our pet vet
Q) OUR ten-year-old German Shepherd Symba died a month ago and her sister Skye seems lost without her.
They had been together since birth. Last August we also lost our Jack Russell Millie, aged 16.
I am about to return to the office and worry how Skye will cope alone in the house with just a lunchtime visit from my husband. How can we stop her being lonely?
I’ve been at home from work since March 2020.
Sue Kelly, Aylesbury, Bucks
A) Poor Skye – and poor you. People are sometimes surprised to hear that pets grieve but they absolutely do.
But they also seem to adjust and get back to normal quicker than we do.
When you return to work, is there anyone in the area who might come in during the day and take Skye for walks? Or is there a friend nearby with a dog she likes who might look after her a few days a week, at least during the first few weeks while she adjusts to her new routine?
Q) WE keep having to let our rescue cat Rafiki in and out all night. My wife and I are in our seventies and we’re shattered.
We’ve had him for seven years. Since January he has been sleeping all day in our bed – and stays there when we turn in.
But around midnight he asks to go out. If I get up to let him out he runs around the bed and looks at my wife for her to open the door. Occasionally he allows me to let him out.
He stays out anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours. This happens two or three times a night. Is it possible to get him to stay awake during the day and sleep at night?
Albert and Catherine Greenway, Exhall, Warks
A) You could try getting him into an active daytime cycle so he sleeps at night, or set him up with his own place to sleep somewhere quiet downstairs and limit his access to upstairs for now.
Ideally a cat flap and/or litter tray will prevent you having to get up to let him out. He will wail at first, no doubt, but will adapt to the new arrangement before too long.
- SEND your questions to [email protected]
WIN: A luxe bundle
FANCY a luxury pet accessories bundle from Argentine leather firm Pampeano?
It started out providing polo players with belts featuring team colours. Now it makes beautiful collars and leads for pets.
Two lucky readers can each win a bundle, worth £139, comprising a belt, collar and lead.
To enter, send an email marked pampeano to [email protected], stating which design you would like. First, take a look at pampeano.co.uk.
- Dead- line for entries is August 7. T&Cs apply.
Star of the week
BOXER Layla has helped homeless dogs around the world find new homes and suffering pooches get lifesaving treatment.
The four-year-old is big on Instagram and has 46,000 followers to spread the word about dogs in need.
Her owner Chris Naughton, 47, from Manchester, says: “We set up her account to store photos of our puppy. But she started to get loads of followers.
“Now Layla and those followers help others.”
Follow her @laylathewhiteboxerdog.
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