summer concerns

Keeping Your Cat Cool in the Summer

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Cats and hot weather don't always go well together.

During the summer months, cats are just as at risk of dehydration and heatstroke as the rest of us.

These are serious conditions that can lead to illness and even death. Here are some steps on how to cool your cat down and how to keep your cat cool in hot weather.

Make sure your cat has plenty of water.

It’s common sense but you should check your cat’s water bowl regularly and fill it up whenever it’s low. Cats can’t survive for long without it.

Ensure there’s a shaded spot in your garden or yard.

If you have an outdoor cat and there are no naturally occurring shady spots in your garden, create one by placing some cloth or cardboard over an area to keep the sun out. Also, make sure you check outdoor buildings like sheds and greenhouses before shutting them as cats often get locked in accidentally overnight.

Brush your cat daily.

Matted hair traps heat so give them a daily groom if possible. This is especially important for long-haired cats.

Keep cats out of conservatories and greenhouses.

These areas can get dangerously hot even when the weather just feels warm. Bear in mind that they both exclude cooling breezes and magnify the heat. Cats are also prone to getting accidentally trapped in conservatories and greenhouses (curiosity truly can kill the cat).

Use damp towels to cool down your cat.

The warmest part of a cat’s body is their tummies, the pads of their paws, their armpits, under their chin and on the outside of their ears. Although most cats hate getting wet, try dampening a cloth with cold water and gently stroking your cat with it from their head and down their back.

Keep your cat calm.

A very active cat that is running around on a hot day will quickly become exhausted and dehydrated. Encourage your cat to relax when temperatures outside are soaring.

Create a retreat.

Cats are clever when it comes to comfort and they will seek out places such as the bath or sink as these often stay cool even when it’s hot outside. You could also try creating a cool and darkened indoor retreat for them to sleep in and feel safe. A top tip is to place a cardboard box on its side and position it somewhere cool and quiet in the house, such as behind a chair or on a cool surface like a wooden floor. Line it with a breathable natural fabric such as a cotton towel.

Keep outdoors cats indoors.

If temperatures really soar, then it’s worth considering keeping your cat inside during the hottest hours of the day.

Take care in the car.

It’s less common for cats to travel in cars than dogs, but they are just as susceptible to the risks. If you are taking your cat to the vets or a cat show, for example, never leave them in the car. Always make sure their carriers are secure, shaded and allow air to circulate. Solid plastic boxes with a secure wire mesh door are preferable.

Encourage cool play.

Ice cubes are a great way for cats to play and keep cool at the same time. Put a few on the floor so they can chase them as they scatter around the floor. Perhaps even consider flavoring the ice with a hint of chicken stock to encourage their interest.

Close the curtains.

Things that keep you cool will also benefit your cat — keeping curtains or blinds closed will keep the sun out.

Watch out for signs of heat stroke.

Although this generally only occurs on really hot days, it’s worth being aware of. Symptoms of heat stroke can include agitation, stretching out and breathing rapidly, extreme distress, skin hot to the touch, glazed eyes, vomiting and drooling. If you’re at all worried about your cat, contact your vet immediately.

Circulate cool air.

Open the windows, turn on a box fan or keep air conditioning at a reasonable temperature. Your cat will appreciate having a cool place to relax indoors if it’s scorching outside.

Cats and hot weather could mean sunburn.

Don’t forget cats are susceptible to sunburn, particularly those with white ears and noses. This can lead to painful blistering and sores, and long-term exposure can lead to skin cancers. It is possible to buy pet sunscreen to apply to the hairless areas on the end of the ears and nose. It’s also advisable to keep white-faced cats indoors during the heat of the afternoon.

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Related: We have more information under our cat health tags.

Water Safety for Your Dog: High Risk Breeds & Puppy First Aid

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Many puppies leap before they look, or simply fall into the swimming pool, hot tub or break through ice on the lake and can’t get out. Dog paddling may be instinctive but they can still drown if they can’t climb out, get too tired to float, or are at risk of being top-heavy.

High Risk Breeds

Some puppy breeds adore the water but others have a hard time staying afloat. For instance, Labrador Retrievers especially love the water. Puppy breeds with heavy coats such as Collies become waterlogged and tend to dislike puddle jumping. Heavy-bodied breeds like Bulldogs have trouble staying afloat and actually could sink and be unable to get out of the pool.

All pets are at risk but especially small breeds and puppies are most prone to drowning. Their inexperience, curiosity, and fearlessness prompt them to explore but they may be unable to climb out of even small bodies of water. The steep sides of backyard pools and hot tubs prove particularly dangerous during the summer.

Water Safety for Puppy Swimming

Pool safety is just as important for puppies as it is for children. Most backyard pools have steps in the deep end along with a shallow end. Teach your pup to find these easy exits through guidance and praise. Never ever leave pets unsupervised around the pool.

Does your pup enjoy a nice boat ride on the gulf? Camping and spending time with our furry friends on water can be tons of fun, but pets can easily lose their footing on slippery boat decks. Even if your pup manages the trek back to land, they may become lost on the beach or sandbar, so it is important that they have their identification tags/collars on, as well as microchipped.

To avoid your pup hurdling into the water at 40 mph, provide double-sided rubber mats on boat decks for a more secure footing for your pet. A harness and a strong lead or tether also helps assure your pet stays secure onboard. Don’t forget safety life vests for pets. You can find these products at most any pet store these days to assure even if they fall into the water, they have some assistance. Most of these floatation harnesses provide a handle for you to lift your pup upwards out of the water with.

First Aid for Drowning

Please, pet-proof pools and other water adventures to prevent tragedies all year round. Supervise your water-babies so cooling off during the summer stays safe. Water games should be fun for the entire family.

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Related: We have more information under our dog health tags.

Simple tips on how to pet proof your garden

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How do I create a pet-friendly garden or yard?

Your garden is the perfect place to enjoy with your pets. However, while you may be in the safety of your home, there are a number of hazards present in your garden which could harm your pet.

Here are a few cat and dog-friendly garden ideas to help protect your garden and keep your pet safe.

Raise your flower beds

Raising your flower beds help keep dogs out of flowerbeds and protect your more delicate plants. For areas where dogs and children will be rough housing, choose tougher, hardy plants or shrubs that can withstand a bit of rough-n-tumble.

Identify toxic plants

There are quite a few plants out there that are toxic to animals, so make sure that your garden only contains cat and dog-friendly plants and flowers if you are to leave them left to their own devices in your garden. Common toxic plants include: crocuses, azaleas, bleeding heart (dicentra), box, bluebells, broom, cyclamen, daffodils, dieffenbachia, hyacinth bulbs, mistletoe, yew, onions, and rhubarb. Although most plants are not attractive to pets, puppies and kittens are especially inquisitive and dogs can chew on sticks where you were pruning.

Secure fencing or enclosure

Ensure that your fencing is secure and without gaps or holes to prevent little escape artists. Consider your pet’s habits as well. Do they tend to dig? If so, give them an area to dig in and encourage him to use this area by hiding toys or treats, rather than your nicely cared for lawn. For cats, consider planting cat nip (Nepeta cataria) or cat grass that is safe for them to chew on.

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Pet-friendly garden checklist

- Clear pathways

- Raise flower beds

- Secure fencing

- Provide shade

- Store chemicals and fertilizers in a safe place

- Identify toxic plants

- Keep compost out of reach

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Related: We have more information under our dog health and cat health tags.

8 Ways to Keep Puppies Cool in Summer

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At such a young age, puppies are still learning how to regulate their body’s temperature when it’s hot out. It’s up to us as their caretaker’s to keep them comfortable on sweltering hot summer days. While letting your pup chill indoors with the air conditioning on, owners need to create an environment conducive to cooling down for outdoor pups.

Provide a Shady Rest Spot

If you don’t have shade provided by a tree in the yard, an outdoor patio umbrella or sunshade canopy that covers a portion of your dog’s run will work just fine. Also to consider is a well ventilated dog crate or doghouse with ample airflow. Providing several options will teach your pup where to seek shelter when their body temperature rises.

Offer Cool Drinking Options

Cold water aids in the evaporative process that happens when your dog pants. It’s one of the main ways that puppies (and dogs) regulate their body temperature. However, playful pups may dump or tip over the water bowl. One way to avoid such an incident is to dig a bucket-sized hole in the ground and fit a watering pail or bowl inside. This will stop your pup from tipping over their watering well. The soil will also act as a great insulator, keeping the water cooler for longer.

Create a Water Fountain

A water faucet attachment can transform your hose bib into a puppy water fountain. Special attachments like the Lixit Faucet will provide your puppy water on their demand. Train them to activate the drinking fountain before leaving them alone.

Freeze a Treat

Fill your pup’s favorite rubber chew toy (like a Kong) with soft food blended with chicken brother or water. Then, stick it in the freezer. Offer these pup friendly ‘pupsicles’ to help your pup stay cool.

Related: Dog Treats Recipe - Pumpkin Ice Cream

Misting Fans

Misting fans made for pets will keep your pet’s fur damp, keeping their body temperature under control. Avoid placing misting fans on bare ground, as it can create a muddy mess (which is very enticing to a puppy).

Pool Party Plans

A kiddie wading pool is perfect for a pup. Place in the shade, invite a few doggie friends over, and tire out exuberant pups. This is a great way to familiarize your puppy with water and water sports.

Dig a Dugout

A sandbox in a shaded corner of the yard will keep your pup cool. Puppy’s that love a good afternoon dig might even excavate their own spot. Wetting down a spot of sand for them to dig will create the perfect nest to chill and escape the heat of the day. Sand is a great medium for digging, and is far easier to shake out of fur than say, dirt or wet mud.

Cooling Tech for Pets

You can find cooling bandanas, collars, jackets, and mats for indoor/outdoor use. Soak in water before leaving and your pet is good to go for roughly five hours.

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Related: We have more information under our dog health tags.

How Hot is Too Hot For Your Dog?

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Dogs can suffer burns to their paws on days most people wouldn’t consider searingly hot.

If the outside temperature is a pleasant 77F (25C), there’s little wind and humidity is low, asphalt and tarmac can reach a staggering 125F (52C).

This can rise to 143F (62C) when the mercury hits 87F (31C).

It’s worth bearing in mind that an egg can fry in five minutes at 131F (55C) while skin destruction can occur in just one minute at 125 (52C).

The reason pavements get so hot is they soak up heat all day and then retain that heat.

Temperature of Surfaces at 2pm

Surface temperatures and their respective surfaces at 2pm.

Studies have shown that some surfaces retain heat far better than others.

In one university experiment, the temperature of six different surfaces was taken at two points in the day on two separate summer’s days.

The results showed that artificial grass came out hottest in all four trials, followed by the material that’s used to make running tracks and then asphalt.

All three surfaces measured upwards 122F at 2pm on both days. This temperature could severely burn a dog’s paws within a matter of minutes.

Brick and concrete came next in the surface temperature league table followed by natural grass. While sand wasn’t included in this experiment, it can get exceedingly hot too.

The fact natural grass was the coolest of the six suggests that owners should choose it to walk their dogs on hot summer’s days (although our strong advice is to exercise dogs before 8am and after 8pm when temperatures are no longer as high).


How to protect paws on hot pavements:

- Follow the seven-second rule and check the surface for heat before you leave the house

- Keep to natural grass

- Walk early in the morning or late in the evening when surfaces are cooler

-Consider a pair of dog booties to help avoid burning paws

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Don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for more recipes, articles, and clinic updates delivered to your inbox (here). Or, you can keep up to date by liking and following our Facebook page (here).

Related: We have more information under our dog health tags.