Tips & Tricks: Keeping pets safe during a heatwave by PDSA

Hi everyone,

Please find some important tips from the vets over at the PDSA team for the current heatwave. (At least we have one here in the UK :o)

Pets can’t tell us when they’re too hot or uncomfortable in their fur coats, so it’s important for us to ensure they remain happy and healthy in the heat.  PDSA Vet Vicki Larkham has put together ten top tips for pet owners:

hot weather cat 1

  1. Never leave pets in cars, conservatories or caravans. Not even for just a few minutes. Even on a cloudy day the temperature can rise very quickly, and you may end up being away for longer than you anticipated. Heatstroke can be fatal and every year we hear sad stories of pets that have died. For more information see the national campaign Dogs Die in Hot Cars.
  2. Provide plenty of fresh, clean water. Pets need constant access to this, so check bowls or bottles at least once a day and be on hand to provide plenty of refills.
  3. Exercise in the morning or evening. Just as we wouldn’t go for a walk under the midday sun with our coats on, we should keep our pets in the shade during the hottest part of the day too. Keep strenuous exercise to a minimum and give them free access to cool, indoor areas
  4. Check your rabbit for flystrike. This is a serious maggot infestation that can be fatal. During the summer rabbits should be checked underneath at least twice a day for fly eggs and dirt. Make sure to keep their underneath clean by wiping with a clean damp cloth.
  5. Provide plenty of shade. Not only is this important if your pet lives outdoors in an enclosure or a hutch, indoor cages should also be kept well away from the window to avoid long periods of direct sunlight. Don’t let your pet lie in direct sunlight for too long.
  6. Protect them with pet sunscreen. These are available from all good pet stores and can be used on areas of white fur or on pets with only a thin covering of hair. Protect vulnerable areas, such as the nose and, particularly for cats, the tips of the ears.
  7. Enjoy a tidy BBQ. AT PDSA we’ve often had to operate to remove skewers and corn on the cobs from dog’s stomachs– so always tidy up leftovers and rubbish. Remember not to give into those puppy dog eyes and skip the scraps to avoid upsetting your pet’s stomach. Along with the food, be mindful of your drinks. Alcohol can be particularly hazardous for pets and glass bottles or cups can be easily knocked over and smashed.
  8. Having your pet’s fur trimmed.  This is a great way to help prevent overheating.
  9. Take extra care when travelling. If you’re going away in the car, keep windows open – but not wide enough for pets to get through. Make regular water stops. Never let your dog put their head out of the car window and never leave them in a parked car.
  10. Watch out for overheating. The signs of heat stroke start with excessive panting and can progress to fatal collapse. Keep a sharp eye and keep your nearest vet’s phone number handy just in case.. If your pet does get too hot, wrap them in a cool damp towel, changing it regularly with a fresh damp one.

hot cat 2

Vicki said: “Many animals can struggle to keep cool in very hot weather – they can’t sweat like humans can and rely on panting to regulate their body temperature – so prolonged hot weather can be quite uncomfortable for our pets. By following PDSA’s summer safety tips owners can ensure our pets also have a safe and fun summer.”

PDSA is on a mission to educate the nation on pet wellbeing and is delighted that funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is helping the charity to continue this vital work. For more summer health advice for pets visit www.pdsa.org.uk/summerhealth.

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47 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks: Keeping pets safe during a heatwave by PDSA

  1. Really helpful. Plus if you into meditation, try and connect to their higher self. It helps us knowing them and their needs better. Takes time but soon this connections develops, i do with my pet dog. Il put a post about how to do it in my blog for sure. Hope this also helps with all those great points. 🙂 thank you 😀

  2. Good tips 🙂 (It’s hot in Belgium as well and getting hotter by the minute!… 😛 )

    Two more – for cats:
    If your cat is not the kind to take a shower in the sink like the one above, you can wet your hands and go over his/her face and ears. Even a water-shy cat is usually (more or less) ok with that.
    You can also wet his/her paws – that is one of the spots they can cool off from, if possible…

  3. I will get the cat fountain going again – so they get really “fresh” water (filtered) through that. I keep my blinds closed on the west side window so the afternoon heat does not heat up the living room and the bedroom open up to the north-east, so I can leave the blinds open and they can look out there.

          1. Well, we have summer till my days off start, then it is back to 24 degrees – from 25 onwards it is summer, from 30 it is Hochsommer … And nights hotter than 20 are tropical …

  4. My big boy, Freddie, sits in front of the fan and blocks the air from reaching the rest of us… so he has no problem in the heat!

  5. Excellent. This was my biggest problem with my geriatric cat who just died at 19. She always went to bake in the sun when it was dangerously hot. Very important post, Marc. Thanks!

  6. Thanks fur the pawsome post, human! It’s been really hot here fur the last week – and we have triple digit highs coming up this week – I’m staying in the air conditioning with the humans!😺

  7. Excellent post.Someone recently told me their cat had gotten that flystrike too-and she was an indoor cat- very scary.

    1. Yeah hot weather is dangerous! And not just for our fur friends but also for us. Hottest day of the year was yesterday and I was out and about all day seeing clients. Too hot. 🙁

  8. Reblogged this on Humor Columnist Blog and commented:
    Dear Folks, This info is so important, I wanted to share it with my readers. If you read my column on a regular basis, you know that I love both cats and dogs. Please be sure your animals have water and shade during this heat.

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