Temperatures are rising and summer is just around the corner, but while hot weather is great news for humans, it can be uncomfortable and pose health risks to pets.
In some cases, heat can be deadly for pets, so owners need to be extra vigilant when temperatures soar. Pets can be affected from temperatures as low as 20 degrees Celsius.
Flat-faced breeds, puppies and overweight pets are even more at risk of heat stroke, so be extra careful with these pets.
Lancaster Vets in Bowerham Road expect to see an increase in the number of pets coming into the surgery with heat-related symptoms.
They are also warning owners to be cautious when having a barbecue, because of the dangers to dogs. Dogs should never be left unattended near a hot barbecue in case they jump up to steal food.
Other common barbecue-related reasons for a trip to the vet include illness after eating food that’s poisonous to pets or high in fat, and swallowing barbecue skewers and ice-cream sticks, which may need to be removed surgically.
Helen Griffin, clinical director at Lancaster Vets, urged anyone who is worried about their pet to phone for advice, and not to leave it until it is too late.
She issued the following tips to help you keep your pet safe in hot temperatures:
Never leave your pet unattended in the car. Temperatures can rise to levels that can prove fatal. Even leaving a pet for five minutes is long enough for them to be affected, and opening a window, parking in the shade or leaving a bowl of water will not prevent heatstroke. Conservatories or greenhouses can have the same effect when temperatures soar.Make sure your pet drinks plenty of water. Just like humans, it is vital pets are well hydrated on hot days, so keep bowls topped up with cool water. Cats and dogs don’t sweat to cool down and find it more difficult to regulate their temperature than we do, making them more likely to become dehydrated.Watch for signs of heatstroke. Excessive panting, pacing and, in severe cases, collapsing or convulsing are signs your pet has heatstroke. Contact your vet immediately.Avoid hot pavements when walking your dog. Pavements can become extremely hot and burn paws, so walk pets at the coolest part of the day. If the ground is too hot for your bare feet, it is too hot for paws. Limping or licking feet could be signs of burnt paws.Stay out of the mid-day sun. Keep pets out of direct sunlight when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, which is usually between 1 and 3pm. Dogs and cats with white or thin coats and pink skin are particularly at risk of sunburn, which can cause skin cancer. Use pet-safe suncream on areas of the ears where the hair is thinner, but don’t apply it near eyes or the mouth.Watch what they eat. Be extra vigilant if you are having a barbecue in case your dog eats any food. Onions and alcohol are big dangers. Corn on the cob can cause blockages or choking, while kebab skewers can cause nasty injuries, so keep them out of your pet’s reach.