How to keep your pets cool in the heatwave – cooling advice from an expert

Keep your dog or cat happy and healthy as temperatures continue to hit new heights.

The summer season can be a difficult time for pets and with the latest weather predictions revealing that the current heatwave in Britain, and temperatures soaring up to 31 degrees, it’s important to keep your pets cool during the day.

Zoe Costigan, in house vet for pet wellbeing specialist firm ITCHpet.com has provided some top tips on how to keep your pet cool in the heat.

1. STAY HYDRATED

Making sure your pet is hydrated is so important. Whether they’re playing in the garden, in the house or out on a daily walk, you should always have unlimited fresh, accessible water ready for your pet.

how to keep your pet cool

Photography: Richard Powers

See How to keep your home cool in the heatwave – in preparation for the rising temperatures

2. LIMIT EXERCISE

Reducing the amount of walks you take your dog on when it’s warm is a responsible choice. The chances are if you’re hot, so is your pet. It’s also advisable to walk your dog before 8am or after 8pm when it’s cooler, or try to find a shaded area like some woods in which to walk. Reducing vigorous exercise in the heat of the day is the wisest option to prevent overheating or heat stroke.

how to keep your pet cool

Photography: Michael Sinclair

3. PROTECT THE PAWS

Dogs’ and cats’ paws are very sensitive to hot surfaces – which can cause thermal burns on the pads. Even on a moderately hot day around 25 Celsius pavements can be dangerously hot for our pet’s poor paws. If you can’t hold the back of your hand on a surface for more than five seconds, you should not be walking your dog on it. Tarmac, asphalt and artificial grass surfaces are the worst offenders for retaining heat – whereas natural grass provides a much cooler surface.

Photography: Brent Darby

See How to keep your bedroom cool during the warmer nights

4. BE SURE TO GROOM

As many of us can’t get to the groomers right now, grooming can be a little tricky. Make sure to brush your cat or dog daily to remove dead hair, followed by combing to remove knots, as this is essential. It’s important to note that certain breeds of animals have fur which is designed to keep them cool and protect from the sun – so shaving them can actually be detrimental. Be sure to do your research before picking up the clippers.

how to keep your pet cool

Photography: Mark Bolton

5. KEEP IT COOL

A good way to keep your canine cool is to get them wet. Using a paddling pool or a garden hose is a great way to do this. If you don’t have a garden, other ways to keep them cool are by laying your dog down on a wet towel, purchasing a cooling mat, or using a household fan. Don’t allow your pet to lie in the sun though – be sure to keep them in the shade and this should keep them a little cooler. Also, never leave your dog in the car on a hot day or go on a car journey without adequate ventilation.

how to keep your pet cool

Photography: Jody Stewart

‘With the hot weather pending, make sure you pack water bottles with you everywhere you go so you can give your pet a drink anywhere, anytime. A cooling mat at home and in the car can also offer welcome relief to hot pets too.’

See Bedroom design tips to help you sleep better at night

‘Dogs can really easily overheat – especially flat nosed breeds or overweight animals – which can lead to heat stroke. You have to be able to spot the signs, as the sooner heat stroke is treated, the better the outcome. If your pet seems to be agitated and panting excessively, drooling, exceedingly thirsty, vomiting or staggering around, then you need to contact a vet as a matter of urgency. Cool towels can be put over your pet on the way to the vets to start the cooling process. Don’t submerge your pet in cold water as this can cause shock.’

MORE FROM H&G