Taking care of your pets in hot weather
Here’s how to take care of your loyal companion when the mercury rises.
- Overheating (heat prostration) can kill an animal. Never leave an animal alone in a vehicle, since even with the windows open, a parked car, truck or van can quickly become a furnace. Parking in shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day. When travelling, carry a thermos filled with fresh, cold water.
- Don't force your animal to exercise after a meal in hot, humid weather. Always exercise him or her in the cool of the early morning or evening.
- In extremely hot weather, don't leave your dog standing on the street, and keep walks to a minimum. He is much closer to the hot asphalt and his body can heat up quickly. His paws can burn since they are not protected by shoes.
- Never take an animal to the beach unless you can provide a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for her to drink. Rinse her off after she has been in salt water.
- Always provide plenty of shade for an animal staying outside the house. A properly constructed dog house serves best. Bring your dog or cat inside during the heat of the day and let her rest in a cool part of your house. Always provide plenty of cool, clean water for your animal.
- Please be sensitive to old and overweight animals in hot weather. Brach cephalic (snub-nosed) dogs (especially bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus) and those with heart or lung diseases should be kept indoors in air-conditioning as much as possible.
- Keep a current licence and identification tag on your dog or cat and consider tattooing or micro chipping as a means of permanent identification.
- Avoid walking your dog in areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals, as poisonings increase during the summer when gardens, lawns and trees are sprayed. These chemicals can sicken or kill an animal. Call your veterinarian if you suspect your animal has been poisoned.
- A clean coat can help to prevent summer skin problems, so keep your dog or cat well groomed. If he has a heavy coat, shaving your dog's hair to a length of 2cm will help prevent overheating. Don't shave a dog's hair down to the skin; this robs him of protection from the sun. A cat should be brushed frequently to keep his coat tangle-free.
- Take your companion animal to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer checkup, including a test for worms if your dog isn't on year-round preventative medication. Have the doctor recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control programme.
- Never tie an animal outside on a correction collar. He can choke to death. If you must tether him, use a buckle collar with identification tags instead. (This applies in any season.)
- Never let your animal run loose. He could contract a fatal disease, including rabies, or be injured, killed or stolen. Be sure there are no open, unscreened windows or doors through which your animal can fall or jump.