Summer Tips

Dogs:

  • Never leave your dog alone in a vehicle. You could run the risk of your pet being stolen, or getting heat stroke, which can be fatal.  Many people still leave their dog in the car thinking that parking in the shade with the windows open is enough to keep them cool. What they don’t realise is if the outside temperature is 20*C, the temperature inside the car can be up to 40*C. Even in the shade with the windows open!

  • When travelling with your dog always remember to have water available.  If you take your dog to a beach or a day out, check in advance that your dog is permitted to be with you.  Be extra careful with any dogs more prone to over-heating.  This is usually dogs that are overweight, older or have lung or heart disease, as their respiratory system is already suppressed. 

  • Playing and walks with your dog are best in the early morning or in the evening when the weather is cooler.  Remember not to exercise straight after a meal. Do not over exercise dogs with longer coats or those who are prone to heatstroke such as those mentioned above.  Make sure shady spots and drinking water is available. If you have children, teach them to leave the dog alone when it’s warm.

  • Keep longer haired dogs cooler by grooming them to get rid of excess hair, and clip long haired coats for this season.  Do not shave the hair as this leaves the skin prone to sunburn.

  • If you are having a barbecue keep items such as matches, lighter fluid, candles and left over bones out of harm’s way.

  • Be careful of letting your dog stand on tarmac.  This heats up very quickly in high temperatures and if your dog stays still on it his paws can be burnt.

  • If you do keep your dog outside provide plenty of fresh water and shade.  Make sure any housing for your dog is of the appropriate materials to prevent temperature build up and is well ventilated.  Bring your dog inside to a cooler spot, at least during the hottest part of the day.

Cats:

  • If you're going to be away all day and you know it's going to get warm in the afternoon, drop three or four cubes into kitty's water bowl before you head out.

  • Cloth-covered plastic frames with short legs will allow your cat to sleep in comfort during hot weather, and the air passing under her bed will help to keep her cool.

  • Get a small box fan and set it on the floor near your air conditioner or an open window. If your cat gets too hot, she'll appreciate the breeze blowing through her fur to keep her cool.

  • Groom daily to remove excess fur.

  • If your cat allows you; apply a damp cloth. Take a damp washcloth or paper towel and stroke your cat with it. Most cats don't mind a little bit of moisture on their fur, especially when they notice how it can cool them off. In fact, one of the ways cats cool themselves down is by grooming, which is nothing more than wetting their fur with saliva rather than water.

  • Close the curtains or blinds in your south- or west-facing windows

  • Postpone Playtime. Even if your cat loves a rousing game of Chase the Mouse, it's best to wait until the end of the day, when it's cooler. Cats can get overheated pretty quickly by strenuous exercise on hot days.

Small Furries:

  • Make sure they are kept out of the sun. If they are confined to a cage or small room for part of the day, be sure that there is plenty of shady space.

  • 'Mist’ the rabbit's ears. Rabbits dissipate heat through their ears and misting them will help keep the rabbit cool.

  • Brush out excessive fur. Who wants to wear an extra fur coat in the summer?

  • Fill 1 or 2 litre drink bottles with water and freeze them. Once frozen, put the frozen water bottle in the cage so he can lean against it to keep cool. Keep a few of these on hand in your freezer.

  • Be sure they are getting their fair share of veggies to help keep him hydrated. Carrots are ideal.

  • Be especially watchful of rabbits and guinea pigs over 5 years old or ones who are overweight or incapacitated. These rabbits tend to be more sedentary and may not get up to drink water if they are too hot. This can quickly lead to dehydration.

  • If it's unbearably hot and your house is cooler than outside, bring your rabbits indoors if possible, and let them run around outside once the hottest part of the day has passed.