Warm or hot weather can be very uncomfortable for pets and cause distress, suffering or even lead to their death. It’s important that you are aware of your pets’ needs in warm and hot weather and know how to deal with these.
Many animals can’t sweat through their skin in the same way as humans. They only cool down by sweating through sweat glands in their feet and panting. So it’s important that you help your pets to stay cool.
Never leave your pet in a car on a warm or hot day
- This can cause distress and suffering, and lead to death.
- Read our information on how to Keep dogs cool – it applies to all animals.
Never leave your pet in direct sunlight
- If your pet is unable to escape to a cooler, more shady environment when it’s feeling hot, it may become unwell and suffer.
- Animals should always be housed out of direct sunlight. Make sure your pet can get to a cool, shady place to escape from the sun at all times of day. This includes outdoor enclosures where small animals and birds are kept
- Fish should also be kept out of direct sunlight, and their water kept clean, well oxygenated and algae free.
Make sure your pet has a constant supply of clean, fresh drinking water
- To keep cool, it’s important that your pet can replace any water that is lost through sweating and panting, otherwise it could become dehydrated. So check and fill water bowls or bottles regularly.
Exercise your pet at times when it is cooler
- Animals still need exercise when it’s hot, but don’t allow pets to exercise too much in hot weather. It is best to walk dogs early in the morning or later in the evening, when it’s cooler.
- If possible, keep cats indoors in the heat of the day if the forecast is hot.
Protect your pet from sunburn
- Animals can get sunburnt too, especially those with light coloured noses, or light coloured fur on their ears. Ask your vet for advice on pet-safe sunscreens.
Be aware of the signs of heat-stroke
- Heat-stroke in pets can be fatal and you should do everything you can to prevent it.
- Signs of heat stroke are excessive panting, heavy salivation, rapid pulse, very red gums/tongue, lethargy (tiredness), lack of co-ordination, being unable to get up after collapsing, vomiting, diarrhoea. In extreme cases, loss of consciousness is likely.
- If you suspect that your pet has heat-stroke, move it to a shaded, cool area and contact your vet immediately for advice.