Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
3:10 PM 27th June 2024

How To Keep Your Pets Safe In A Heatwave

image supplied by TrustedHousesitters
image supplied by TrustedHousesitters
With the Met Office predicting new global temperature records and parts of the UK reaching 30 degrees, vets are warning pet owners in the UK to take precautions against an already dangerous time for pets.

During heatwaves, it is of great importance that your pets are summer ready too. Make sure they are up to date with their health checks and vaccinations to ensure they stay safe and can enjoy the sunshine with you.
Veterinarian Dr Lily Richards, BSc (Hons) BVSc MRCVS

Pet-sitting company TrustedHousesitters worked with veterinarians to create a warm-weather checklist owners should complete to ensure their pet's safety.

Here are five crucial safety steps every pet parent should cover during warm weather:

Offer wetter foods

image supplied by TrustedHousesitters
image supplied by TrustedHousesitters
It’s easier for pets to become dehydrated during heat spikes, so offering treats with a high water content, such as cucumber and watermelon, will keep your pets cool and hydrated. Frozen, smaller pet-safe treats such as berries will also act as a mental stimulant and are handy to keep in mind for hot days. To offer more stimulation and entertain your pets indoors, summer pupsicles are a great way to make your pet work for their treats! Simply add some water and their favourite treats into a bowl and freeze overnight - this will add hours of entertainment without over-exerting your pet.

Brush off their shedding coat

You wouldn't want to spend time outside with a winter coat on – and neither does your pet. While spring shedding occurs naturally, a speedier process will ensure your pet is far more comfortable as the temperatures quickly rise. Brushing our pets and keeping their fur trimmed in the summertime helps them shed their thicker undercoat, ensuring they don't overheat in the sun while enjoying time with the family. Do not shave your pet, as this can result in an uncomfortable coat – brushing only!

Stock up on pet-friendly suncream

Like humans, pets get sunburned too. Pets with white fur, especially over their noses or ear tips, and furless pets are especially prone to sunburn and risk developing sun-related cancers if exposed for long periods without protection. Pet-friendly suncream is great for ensuring your pet stays safe and can enjoy the sun with all the family. Don't be tempted to use human suncream; some of them contain zinc, salicylates, and propylene glycol, which are toxic to pets, and can cause problems if ingested.

Map out a safe walking route

Be sure your usual walking route is still safe for your pet during hotter temperatures, and if not, prepare to map out a new one. With pets much lower to the ground, their bodies absorb heat from asphalt and other hot surfaces more easily. This, combined with fur layers and increased heart rates, greatly increases your pet's chances of overheating. Walk your pet on a shaded route to prevent paw burning. If possible, opt for a grassy walk where routine summer pesticide spraying is unlikely. Remember, cars can reach extreme temperatures in warm weather, so leave pets at home if you're heading for a drive and stick to walks closer to home.

Walk dogs in the cooler parts of the day, either early morning or evening, to prevent overheating. You should take extra care with those that are prone to overheating, like flat-faced dogs, older dogs or younger pups.
Dr Lily Richards recommends

Check for new insect nests

Wasps, bees and other stinging insects grow in numbers during the warmer weather, and they may find your garden, balcony, or patio a perfect place to nest. These insect stings can cause your pet to have an allergic reaction, and they might even develop life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. Sweep your outdoor areas for the development of any nests and remove them with help from a professional.

Before taking off on your warm weather travel plans, plan for your pet too. Find qualified, background-checked pet sitters with access to a 24/7 vet hotline here