So Sydney, summer is here and by all accounts it is going to be a hot one! Summer is my favourite time of year, but unfortunately it can be misery for our furry friends. Those that suffer the most include the brachycephalics of this world. These are our squished faced pets; and include Pugs, French Bulldogs, Boston terriers, Persian cats etc. These pets have changes in their anatomy which mean that they don’t breathe or pant efficiently, making them much more prone to heat stroke.
Signs of heat stroke include:
- Panting excessively
- Drinking lots of water
- Weakness or wobbliness
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Disorientation or confusion
- Eventual collapse
- Raised body temperature, which can sometimes be felt by touch
If in doubt contact your local vet ASAP. Heat stroke can kill.
Remember, just like children never leave your pets unattended in a car, even with the window open.
So what can you do?
There are a number of obvious things you can do:
- Always provide your pet with multiple drinking bowls of fresh water
- Provide lots of shade and make sure they actually lie in it!
- Clip their fur
- Allow them to lie on cool tiles
- Air conditioning (even whilst you are out during the day if necessary)
- Not walking them during the hottest part of the day
However, this is a behaviour blog, so now for the fun parts! Remember that your pets don’t always know what is best for them, so move that cooking cat out of the direct sun! There are lots of great and fun ways for your pets to keep cool this summer:
We all love a good ice lolly in the summer – including our dogs (and greedy cats such as my Seby..!) To make your very own dog or cat ice lolly – pick an appropriate sized kong, turn it upside down and plug the small hole with treats to create a seal. Then fill the kong up with chicken stock, tuna water or your liquid of choice. Freeze it overnight and voila… a kongsicle!
Lots of dogs love a good paddle. Fill up a paddling pool, or an upturned box and fill it with water. This will allow your dog to jump in and have a swim (unfortunately most cats hate water so this won’t be a popular choice for most of them!)
Ever been to a zoo in the summer and seen them feeding the animals ice blocks as entertainment? The same thing can be done for our dogs. Simply get a container (such as an old ice cream container). Fill it up with some water add some treats, freeze, and then add another layer, more treats and freeze it and there you have it – a frozen block of fun!
Many people tell me that their cats don’t drink much. We can encourage cats to drink by using a water fountain, adding some tuna juice to water or even changing to wet food during a hot spell.
Trip to the beach
There are a lot of great spots in Sydney that allow dogs at the beach. So if time allows bring your furry friend to the beach – just remember to provide them with fresh water (sea water and dogs don’t mix….!) and try and bring them at the cooler times of the day.
Dr Julie and LouLou enjoying some evening beach time!
And most importantly ENJOY!!