Summer can be a dangerous time for pets and humans alike. People are better equipped to deal with the heat. We can perspire all over to cool our bodies while animals rely on other, less efficient methods to cool themselves. Soaring temperatures can cause your pet to suffer sunburn, heatstroke and even death in hot conditions.
Effects of Sun on our Pets
Every summer pets suffer from too much sun or heat which can lead to a range of health problems.
Some pets don't realise they are putting their skin at risk by basking in the sun. Light coloured animals are at particular risk of sunburn. If your dog lies in the sun, try to encourage them to sit in the shade during the hottest part of the day and apply a sunscreen if they are at risk of sunburn on areas not covered by fur. Human sunscreens contain zinc oxide which is poisonous when ingested by dogs so use a sunscreen that doesn't include it or buy a pet-specific sunscreen.
Dogs rely on panting to keep them cool. If they don't have cold air to breath in, they are at risk of heatstroke. Dog breeds with a short snout are at higher risk of heatstroke because they have smaller nasal passages to cool the air. If your pet stays outside during summer, make sure they have a sufficient area of full shade. On hot days let your pet lie on cold concrete, tiled or air-conditioned areas to help cool their body.
What Makes Pets Hot
Don't forget many of our pets are wearing fur coats. In summer we take off our winter woollies and opt for thinner fabrics and few layers of clothes. If your dog has a thick heavy coat, reduce some of the bulk by shaving or trimming the fur.
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Cars are Killers
Many pets love to ride in the car at all times of the year. They love the wind in their face and the chance to sniff their new surroundings and while the car is moving it's enjoyable for them. But once the car is stationary even in the shade, it can heat up to dangerous temperatures within minutes. Even with the car window down, it can be sweltering inside. If someone can't stay with the dog, it's safest to leave your dog at home.
If you usually take your pet out for a walk at midday or in the afternoon, consider changing the time on hot days. Try to go early morning or evening when the sun isn't so fierce. If you are going for a long walk, talk some water with you or use a tap at the park to give them a drink mid-walk.
Make sure your pet has access to water day and night in summer. Don't leave your pet outside with one bowl of water on a hot day. If they drink or tip the water over early in the day, they can spend several hours without a drink. Make sure the bowl you use is large enough and weighted so it isn't easily tipped over but better still have multiple sources of water.
Some pets like to stand or lie in water to cool off so if that's the case for your pet, put a small amount of water in a child's paddle pool on hot days if it's safe to do so otherwise use a hose to cool down your pet.
If you think your pet may have suffered heatstroke, give them a large drink of water and take them to the vet immediately for a check-up or intravenous fluids to cool their body quickly.
HIF Pet Insurance Cover
We all love spoiling our fur-kids, yet only 26% of dogs and 19% of cats in Australia have pet insurance - and that could be very hurtful when the vet bill arrives! With HIF Pet insurance, you'll enjoy affordable cover for cats and dogs of all ages. Plus, claiming is easy thanks to our online member Pet Pawtal!