Can someone please think of the dogs?
The moment a heatwave hits this lovely isle, we have a tendency to rejoice over the tropical temperatures and then complain after an hour or so that it's just too hot.
Luckily for us, humans can regulate their body temperature pretty easily when compared to our furry friends, especially when it comes to sleeping through a humid, muggy night. As annoying as sleeping with one leg outside the duvet, your pet has a tougher time at keeping the heat at bay.
Warnings have been issued to pet owners to take care in the hot weather after a dog died of suspected heatstroke following a walk in 21°C heat.
With the heatwave expected to last at least another week across parts of Ireland and the UK, it’s important that dog, cat, rabbit and bird owners take extra measures to ensure their furry friends remain happy and well in these sweltering temperatures. Which is why we caught up with the staff at Village Vets who have put together a list of expert tips you can use to make sure your pets stay safe in the escalating temperatures this week.
cHOOSE THEIR WALKS STRATEGICALLY
While you may be tempted to bring your four-legged friend to the park or beach, during a heatwave, it's safer to leave them at home. Even a short walk on a very hot day can be too much. If you really need to bring your dog out, Village Vets recommends opting out of the midday sun stroll, and instead, "take your pooch for a morning or evening walk, when the heat of the sun has died down".
always have cool water
Make sure that your dog's water bowl is filled with cool water all throughout the day and night. If you're leaving the house with your dog make sure you have a dog-friendly water bottle or bowl with you — even if you're just going out for a quick walk. The warmer temperatures will leave your dog more dehydrated than usual, even if they're just lazing about, so make sure they always have access to water.
never leave pets in hot cars
This should go without saying, yet, each summer, hundreds of animals die in hot cars. Never leave your pet in the car. "Even if the temperature outside is bearable," says Village Vets. Research has shown that if it’s a sunny 25 degrees, the temperature in a car (even with the windows open), can rise to more than 50 degrees in just 30 minutes. But it's not just cars you should be wary of, "Inside the car can be suffocating, so never leave your pet in a closed parked car, conservatory or greenhouse."
CREATE A DIY COOLING MAT
Dogs and cats love to stretch out in the warm summer sun, but they can quickly become overheated. "Make lounging more enjoyable for your pet by creating a DIY cooling mat. All you need is some fleece fabric, ice packs and a basic level of sewing, simple!"
add Sun cream
Despite popular belief, animals need sun cream too. Cats are particularly susceptible, as they love to lounge in the midday sun. "To prevent your pet from being diagnosed with a dangerous skin-related condition, apply sun cream to the tip of its ears the moment sunshine appears," recommends Village Vets.
As soon as the sun hits, there's one thing on everyone's mind: ice cream. While we're not recommending you give your pup a cornetto, Village Vets has an alternative, pet-friendly solution. "Freeze some treats, like yoghurt, stock or peanut butter for your furry friends. It’s a nice way to reward then and cool them down throughout the day."
Pet pool party
If your dog likes water, fill up a paddling pool or (empty) sandpit and set it out in the shade for your dog to splash about in to cool off. This works well as an activity for dogs when it’s too hot for a midday walk - "it's the perfect cool down for your pet."
If you notice that your pup is panting excessively, having difficulty breathing, increased heart, respiratory rate, is drooling, appears mildly weak, seems confused or faint, heatstroke might be in effect.
More serious symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhoea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. If you notice that your pet is not acting like itself, bring them to a cool, dry place immediately and call your vet. Heatstroke can be fatal, so when in doubt, head to the vets.
Village Vets provides a 24/7 emergency vet service at all the 10 clinics. For more information, click here.
Main image by @haileybieber