Summer can be a difficult time for pets, both big and small. The increase in temperature can mean some animals are not able to cope with it. As a pet owner there are some things you can do to help reduce the strain on your much loved pets.
Small animals, such as hamsters through to guinea pigs may find their sleeping patterns become disturbed if they are in an area that is too hot for them. Consider where you put their bedding and living quarters. You may want to move them to a cooler room, away from direct sunlight. You can also consider cage covers as a good way of keeping a bit of shade around. Water is also an issue in the summer. It will inevitably warm up in sunlight, causing it to become stale. You might even notice algae blooms appearing. A great way to combat this is to clean the bottle daily with a disinfectant designed for rodents, making sure to thoroughly rinse. You can also use a special insulated bottle in order to keep water cooler for longer.
Cats will love the sunshine. They will bask in the suns rays given any chance they can. This can be a problem though, as many outdoor cats will suffer from sunburn. Using a small dab of sun lotion on ear tips and other areas of exposed skin can help the sun seeking feline to stay sun burn free! Water should also be kept cool and clean, many cars will and do drink from puddles, but at this time of year it is often difficult to find area to sip, so your own water bowl may be their only choice!
Dogs also tend to feel the heat. As with cats, using sun lotion on exposed areas of skin for the outdoor loving dog can help reduce sunburn. Be aware that on very hot days your dog’s paws may also be at risk of burn from hot tarmac! If you go for a long walk you may want to take a ‘pocket puddle’ with you. They conveniently fold into a small pouch and provide an excellent portable bowl for water stops along the way. Also remember never to leave your dog in the car on a hot day, even if it is just for 20 minutes, it can be deadly. If travelling in the car, there are some things you can do to make your dog more comfortable. Try the RAC range of travel products. The portable water and food bowl makes stopping for refreshments a family wide thing and the RAC window guard means your dog can enjoy fresh air without the dangers of having the window open.
For those with more exotic pets, keeping an eye on temperature is key. Most set-ups should have a thermometer and thermostat to keep an eye and adjust automatically. Sometimes, it gets too hot for that adjustment to be significant. You may want to think about turning off some features of your set up, such as heat mats. You could even try to relocate the vivarium to a cooler spot in the house. Lowering the wattage of heat bulbs is also another thing to consider when trying to maintain the correct temperature in the summer.
Lastly, keeping an eye on your pet’s behaviour is a great way to make sure they are not suffering from heat exhaustion. Reptiles may burrow or squeeze themselves into cooler areas of their enclosure. Rodents will often be seen moving their bedding space to a shady spot. Dogs in particular will display a lot more panting and possibly have a wetter nose than usual. Keeping an eye out for these symptoms, no matter what pet you have, will ensure that both you and your companion can enjoy summer to the full!
Posted by Gordon Bloomfield