By Miriam Kerins


It’s July, and, as we’re well into summer, temperatures are on the rise! So, while you’re busy inhaling the aroma of the family barbeque and making the frenzied dash to smother the kids with sun block; we’d urge you to please take a moment to remember the four legged members of your family, i.e.  Fido and Kitty.  Let me put this simply…Animals CANNOT tolerate extreme temperatures! Therefore, as a responsible pet owner you must make absolutely sure that when the sun does make an appearance, and as that sun/hot weather can pose a real threat to your pets, we’d like to remind animal lovers of their duty to keep their four legged friends safe. 


Before you read on, please note: All of the information I am providing is done so as a guideline and as a source of education only.  It is in no way intended to be used, nor should it ever be used, as a substitute for professional veterinary and/or animal training/behavioural advice.  If you have any concerns regarding your animal's health or behaviour, please contact your local veterinarian, who is an expert, without delay.


Below are some bullet points and tips; I hope they prove useful:


Never, ever, leave your dog/cat in a car!!! Pet owners should know the dangers of leaving any animal in a hot car; even for just a few minutes. This particularly applies to dogs who love to travel in cars and, even if it’s tempting to let them go to the supermarket with you, we’d urge you to never leave your loyal pet locked inside your vehicle, even with the windows open.

Temperatures don’t have to be in the 90’s for a car-bound dog to be in serious trouble. Even at much lower temperatures, even under a cloudless sky, the humidity inside the car turns it into a sauna.  Research has shown that if it’s a sunny 78 degrees, the temperature in a car, with the windows open, rises at least 32 degrees in 30 minutes. In short, 78 to 110 in half an hour!   Temperatures in air conditioned cars can reach the same temperature as it is outside within just five minutes of the device being turned off. This means, on a hot day, it takes only a matter of minutes for a dog to end up organ damaged…or dead!

●  If you must take your dog out in the car, make sure you have him/her well strapped in. Purchase a car safety harness for your dog. This is for your safety as much as his! They’re available in any good pet shop. Cats should always be held in pet carriers when travelling in the car.

One small jolt in traffic can have a very sad result for an unsecured pet. If you’re forced to brake suddenly, an unsecured animal can be thrown forward, hitting you in the back of the head or neck, causing painful injuries to both you and your pet.

Make sure the car window is open while driving; enough to give your animal plenty of ventilation.  Again…Don't leave your dog in the car if you need to leave your vehicle.

If your dog pants quickly, looks very tired or collapses, he/she could be suffering from heatstroke. Contact a veterinary surgeon immediately for further advice as heatstroke can prove fatal. In the event you are unable to seek professional advice/treatment, (which I stress is an urgent requirement), put your dog in a cool, shady spot and spray his/her body with cool water, or give him a cool (not cold) bath immediately. Never cool your dog so much that he/she begins to shiver. Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water.

Be responsible; leave your dog at home. Place his/her bed/kennel in a shaded area and he/she will automatically go to it when he/she needs rest from the hot sun.

●  Leave plenty of water, and leave it in the shaded area.  Check water bowls regularly to make sure there’s plenty of fresh water available.

Never exert your dog during hot weather. When walking your dog, remember there are areas and times during the day where temperatures soar. It makes sense to walk your dog in the early morning or late evening, when temperatures are lower and the hot concrete won’t burn sensitive paws.

When walking, always take along water for yourself and for your dog. Stop frequently to allow both of you to have a refreshing drink. Many domestic animals do not sweat to keep cool. Dogs have no sweat glands and can only lose heat by panting. Make sure they always have plenty of water to help them to keep cool. Tip: Temperatures are at their highest during mid-day and three o’clock, so avoid these times.

Keep your pet groomed: This is very important during hot weather. If your pet has long hair then that’s akin to you wearing a fur coat in 90 degrees of heat!  Regular brushing helps remove the winter undercoat and helps your pet to regulate his/her body temperature.

●  Apply sunscreen to pets with white tipped ears and noses. Tip: Children’s sunscreen, Factor 50+ is particularly good.

 Insects: Make sure your pet receives regular flea preventative treatment. Use a veterinary purchased brand.  And… keep that first aid kit close by in case of bee and wasp stings.

Water Safety: If your dog likes the water, he’ll/she’ll instinctively want to swim during the hot weather so put a life jacket on him/her.

Remember, even the healthiest of pets will suffer in extreme temperatures, so please take the above precautions, and again, for professional advice, contact your local veterinary surgeon.


©  Miriam Kerins



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