How to keep your dog, cat and other pets safe in the summer heat

During the hot weather, our pets are just as much in danger of dehydration, heatstroke and sunburn as we are. Here’s how to keep your furry friends safe in the summer.

While we remember the importance of staying hydrated, covering up and regularly applying sun cream while the mercury rises, what about our pets?

[Read more: 7 tips for travelling with pets]

Dogs and cats are just as prone to dehydration, heatstroke, sunburn and even over-indulgence at the barbecue.

Here's some sound advice for pet ownes on keeping animals safe both at home and abroad throughout the summer.

During the hot weather

Animals can suffer from sunburn, particularly those with thin, pale or white fur. Use a pet-friendly sun cream on extremities, such as ear tips

Keep an eye on your pet for any signs of heat exhaustion or sunstroke including excessive panting, drooling, convulsions, collapse and shock. If your pet shows any of these signs, get them out of the heat, shower them with cool (not cold) water, wrap them in wet towels and take them straight to the vet.

Dogs can burn their paws on hot pavements so walk them during the cooler times of the day. Also, take water with you and stop regularly so your dog can have a drink

Try freezing your dog’s dinner into ice lollies by mixing their food with some water in a cup and putting it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Remove the cup before giving it to your dog.

[Should you break a window to save a dog in a hot car?]

At a barbecue

• Whilst burgers, sausages and chicken legs are staples of the barbecue menu, they are not always suitable for pets.

• The high fat content means that you need to be very careful what you feed your pet under the picnic table as this can sometimes cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) , while bones can puncture your pet’s  mouth, throat and can cause blockages and perforations  in the stomach and intestines.

• Corn on the cob is also very dangerous for dogs to eat. Dogs are unable to digest the cob at all, meaning it will try to pass through the intestine without being digested which, like bones, can lead to blockages and perforations – both of which are incredibly serious.

• Alcohol is not safe for dogs or cats either. It is hugely toxic to them and even a small amount can be dangerous. Ensure your pet can’t access any alcohol and that any spillages are mopped up quickly.

• Make sure to dispose of tin foil, cling film, skewers and other BBQ essentials properly as well as food leftovers.

• Pets love to hunt out scraps and to lick up delicious smelling grease, but accidentally swallowing tin foil or skewer splinters can do serious damage.

• Metal skewers can also be hazardous if trodden or chewed on, as they can piece delicate areas such as the paws or the roof of the mouth.

• Grease that drips onto the floor can cover pebbles and stones that a pet could mistake for edible morsels, so use a drip tray to keep the grease off the ground and ensure that you clean up all broken glass from any dropped glasses.

On a road trip

• Use a carrier for your cat or a safety harness for your dog. Take their favourite bed, toy, food and treats with you and stop regularly so they can have bathroom breaks.

• Never leave your pet alone in a parked car, even for a short period of time. The temperature can soar to deadly levels within minutes, even with a window open.

[11 X-rays of the weirdest things pets have eaten]

• Feed your pet a light meal 3-4 hours before you set off and ensure a plentiful supply of water while travelling.

• In case of emergency make sure you have details of a local vet at your destination.

On the beach or while camping

• If you are taking your dog to the beach, check tide times first. Not all dogs can naturally swim so they could quickly get out of their depth. The hot grains of sand and salt in the sea can also damage their paws so wash them thoroughly when you get home.

• Before camping, ensure your campsite allows dogs and check local laws and byelaws to avoid breaching any restrictions.

* During your stay, be mindful of low-level cooking equipment and remember that dogs running free can be a danger to nearby livestock.

• Don’t let your pet off the lead immediately in unfamiliar areas, particularly on cliffs and beaches as your dog may run off the end of an incline or get into deep water.

• Grass seeds can cause discomfort, particularly in ears and feet, if they are picked up when exercising outside or on a walk. Avoid walking in long grass during the peak summer months of June to August and check your dog’s paws after every walk for lurking grass seeds. Seek early veterinary advice if your dog starts licking its paw or has a small hole between its toes.

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