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Pets and hot weather

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

When we're lucky enough to have hot weather during the summer months, please remember it can be uncomfortable - even dangerous - for our pets.

Follow these tips to help you keep your pets cool and safe this summer. 

Never leave your pet in a parked car

Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on.

  • On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels.
  • On an 85 degrees day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.

Limit exercise on hot days

Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature and have water available at all times.
  • On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-coloured ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing.
  • Asphalt/tarmac gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.

 Don't rely on a fan

  • Pets respond differently to heat than us. Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet and pant to regulate their body temperature, therefore fans don't cool them off effectively.


Provide ample shade and water

  • Any time your pet is outside, make sure they have protection from heat and sun with plenty of fresh, cold water.
  • In heat waves, add ice to water when possible.
  • Tree shade and tarpaulins are ideal because they don't obstruct air flow. A kennel does not provide relief from heat - in fact, it makes it worse.


Cool your pet inside and out

  •  Always provide water, whether your pet is at home, or out with you. 

Watch for signs of heatstroke

Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some of the signs of heatstroke are:

  • heavy panting
  • glazed eyes
  • a rapid heartbeat
  • difficulty breathing
  • excessive thirst
  • lethargy
  • fever
  • dizziness
  • lack of coordination
  • profuse salivation
  • vomiting
  • a deep red or purple tongue
  • seizure, and
  • unconsciousness.

Animals with a higher risk for heat stroke are the very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease.

Some breeds of dogs e.g. boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles, will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke

  • Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
  • Apply ice packs wrapped in a thin towel, or cold towels to their head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
  • Seek veterinary treatment urgently!


Contact your highcroft surgery for further advice during the hot weather, or in the event of an emergency call our 24 hour hospital on 01275 832410.


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