Tips to keep your pets cool in a heatwave – ice cube game and useful hand trick

The heatwave is well and truly upon us, as temperatures hit 30 degrees across parts of the south of England.

As the nation runs for cover and air conditioning, it’s important we all spare a thought for our furry friends who might have a bit less common sense and are stuck in their winter coats.

Today is the peak of the heatwave rising north from Iberia – that’s Spain and Portugal by the way – with serious heat making London hotter than Barcelona, Nice and Genoa.

But our dogs and cats don’t know that and are instead likely to be a little overwhelmed by the extreme heat.

While dogs pant to cool down, cats sweat through their paws, and although these are effective methods of making things more comfortable, their thick layers of fur can still make days like today a lot harder than it is for us humans.

How to keep your dog cool in a heatwave

Dogs can be dopey and although they generally do pay attention to their needs, they can sometimes need some extra help doing what’s best for them.

Battersea Dogs Homehas put together some top tips on how we can best help.

Plan your walks – Make sure you only head out at times when you know it won’t be too scorching.

Even though it might be convenient for you to do it another time, bear in mind that it might be better for your dog to go early or later in the day and avoid the middle.

Always bring water – Dogs need more water in summer than any other time of year, so make sure you have both a bottle of the wet stuff and something they can drink it out of.

Know the signs of heatstroke – When they overheat, dogs can get heatstroke very quickly and it is vital we all know what signs to look out for to help avoid it.

Although any kind of dog can get heatstroke – which in many cases can be fatal – some features can make them more susceptible including overweight, young, elderly, flat-faced, giant-breed and thick-coated dogs.

Battersea points out that the signs of heatstroke to watch out for are:

  • Heavy panting
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion or loss of coordination
  • Drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Shaking or weakness
  • Seizures

If you think your dog might have heatstroke, here’s what you need to do according to Battersea:

“Move the dog to a shaded and cool area. Keep them calm and still. Put them on top of a cool wet towel or place them in the breeze of a fan.

“Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water. Pour cool water over the dog’s feet, ears and head. Never use ice or very cold water as this can cause shock.

“Gradually start to move cool water over their body but not too much that they start shivering.

"If possible, continue cooling your dog on the way to your vet."

Protect the paws – Hot surfaces can be really nasty on paws. If you don’t know if a surface is too hot then check yourself with the palm of your hand for five seconds.

If it’s too hot for you, it's definitely too hot for your dog's sensitive pads.

Don’t leave your dog in a car – Leaving a dog in a hot car isn’t just cruel, it can kill them. Even shade isn’t enough, so make sure you plan ahead so you never have to do it. Battersea says to call 999 if you see a dog alone in a hot car.

Use up their energy cleverly – If they are energetic, don’t make them run around. Instead do things like hiding their toys for them to find in a small, cool area to tire them out.

How to keep your cat cool in a heatwave

  • UK hospitals put on Heat Wave Level 3 Alert as 34C scorcher set to wreak havoc on Brits

Although many of the same rules apply for keeping your cat cool in a heatwave as dogs, there are a couple of differences it is important to note.

The Blue Crosshave compiled some top tips to help your feline friend cope.

Sunburn – cats can get sunburnt on places like their ears and noses. Particularly pale cats are especially vulnerable to this. To avoid painful burns, its best to keep them inside between 11 and three when it’s really hot.

Give shade – make sure that the outdoor space your cat calls home has plenty of shade. Make sure there are areas where they can cool down if they want to.

Play with ice cubes – Cats can be keen for a play with just about anything, so get an ice cube in the mix if they seem energetic and look like they may need to expel some energy.

Hot rooms – it can be easy to lose track of where your cat is. Make sure that he doesn't accidentally get shut in hot rooms.

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