PET owners trying to keep their furry friends cool in the heatwave should pay attention to these tips.
Experts warned Brits to stay inside this week to keep safe in the hot weather – and the same advice is in place for our pets.
We spoken to Karen Heskin, the head of pets at Pets at Home, who revealed her top tips and tricks to keep your animals cool.
She said: “It’s really important to have the right information and products to keep your pets protected, as warm and sunny weather can potentially be dangerous for them.
“Dogs, for example, don’t sweat like we do – they cool themselves down by panting.
“But on really hot days, panting isn’t effective and they need some help to cool down.”
Making sure there is plenty of shade and cool water around is crucial, but some extra cooling gizmos and gadgets can help too.
Karen revealed her top tips to helping your pet through the heatwave:
Keep them hydrated
Whatever the weather, water bowls or bottles should be topped up with fresh, clean water – but this is even more important during a hot spell.
Karen said: “Animals drink more when it’s hot to help cool themselves down, so take along some fresh drinking water for them if you head out for a walk too.”
She suggested offering your job an ice cube to munch on, or adding one to their water bowl too.
Karen added: “”But gulping down too much water at once can be dangerous for dogs.
“While a full bowl shouldn’t cause a problem, keep an eye on them if playing in a pool, river, or stream and move them on if you think they’ve had their fill.”
Keep it cool
Karen said: “When the sun’s out, it’s important pets have a shaded area where they can escape from the heat.”
That could mean setting up a windbreak or pop-up tent if you’re taking them out for the day, or a raised dog bed with a canopy for the garden.
A cooling mat is a cheap device to make your pet more comfortable in the house or their bed, or you could even try a cooling vest if they don’t mind wearing clothes.
She added: “For small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs, make sure their hutch is not in direct sunlight and that it is well ventilated.”
Smaller mats can be popped into a rabbit hutch or guinea pig cage, or you could add some ice to a water bottle to give them something cool to lay against.
Look after their paws
Surfaces like concrete, sand and asphalt can absorb a lot of heat on sunny days and can easily burn your pet’s paws, causing blistering and pain.
Check the surface temperature with the back of your hand before letting them wander around – if you can’t hold your hand there comfortably for at least a few seconds, don’t let your pet walk on the surface.
Karen said: “On really hot days it’s best to stick to grass or shaded areas where it’s much cooler.”
Be sure to wait until it’s cooler before walking them too – either early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not at its strongest.
You might not realise that animals also need SPF to look after their skin – you can get doggy spray for as little as £6.
Never leave them alone in a hot car
Cars can reach sweltering temperatures in the heat and it’s not safe to leave animals inside a vehicle even for a short period.
Karen said: “On a day where it’s 22 degrees outside, the inside of a car can reach 47 degrees in just an hour.
“Confined to an increasingly hot space like this, dogs will quickly overheat, even within a few minutes.”
There’s no gadget or product that can provide a fix for this one – you’ll just need to take your dog with you when you leave the car, or leave them at home while you pop out if it’s appropriate to.
Elsewhere, we tested the best fans for under £30 and the winner is from a budget supermarket.
And these are the six best gadgets for under £40 that will keep you cool during the summer.