As summer brings sunny skies and rising temperatures, it’s great for activities outdoors, sunbathing in the garden or having a swim in your local lido.
It’s less fun however for pets, who can find coping in the heat difficult as many domestic animals have fur coats which offer little respite. Not to mention, there’s little air conditioning to be found in homes across the UK.
As RSPCA animal welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines explains, some pets, like dogs, don’t sweat so once their body temperature begins to rise it can be difficult for them to cool down.
As a result, it’s important to keep a close eye on your pet’s behaviour in hot temperatures as they could be displaying signs of heatstroke.
“If your pet is excessively panting or drooling, seems lethargic, is vomiting or collapses then these can all be signs of heatstroke. If you see any of these symptoms we would urge you to speak to your vet as soon as possible,” she says.
With some animals that require daily walking, such as dogs and horses, take them out early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler.
“Keep in mind that pavements can get very hot and can burn dogs’ paws – if it’s too hot to touch with your hand then it’s too hot for them to walk on.”
There are, however, simple steps you can take to stop your furry friends from overheating, which we’ve rounded up in our guide to keeping pets cool.
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You may be surprised to hear that pets, just like humans, need sunscreen, but it’s just as important.
“Some pets – particularly those with white or light-coloured coats – can get sunburn so we would recommend using pet-safe sunscreen,” says Dr Gaines.
“Cats and dogs may need some sun cream on their ears, while horses may need sun cream on their nose.”
This Petkin doggy sunmist spray SPF15 (Pets At Home, £6), is perfect for wriggly animals who won’t stay still.
Fast and convenient to apply, it will protect pets from UV rays without giving you too much work.
Or try this Dermoscent sunfree for dogs and cats (Vetsend, £15.25), designed for sensitive and light-haired skin.
It’s waterproof, fragrance-free and recommended to apply where your pet has little or no fur, such as; around the edges of ears, around their nose, abdomen and any areas they have scarring.
Along with ensuring your pet has access to shady areas and plenty of water to drink, there are DIY measures you can employ to cool them down, such as using a damp towel for them to sit on, or wrapping an ice pack in a towel.
For a more permanent solution, try this RSPCA pet cooling mat (RSPCA, £9.99-£27.99).
It’s filled with a pressure activated gel that will start to cool as soon as your pet lies on it.
You can keep it in the garden or indoors in some shade so they’re as comfortable as possible, as it won’t leave any damp stains on any decking or carpet.
If you have bigger dogs, an extra-large mat will do the job best, such as this dog cooling mat (Londons Original, £22.99), which is filled with a non-toxic gel that is five to 10 degrees cooler than room temperature.
It can be used on its own or in a pet carrier and has a wipe-clean cover which will be easy to keep free from muddy stains with some antibacterial cleaning spray.
Dr Gaines recommends filling a paddling pool with water to play in. It will keep them active and cool simultaneously and doesn’t need to be expensive.
Smaller animals will enjoy splashing about in this Bestway summer set pool (John Lewis & Partners, £9.99).
It’s bright, colourful and compact, so won’t take up lots of room in the shed when it’s not hot and sunny, which let’s face it, is during most of the year in Britain.
Larger dogs will fit better in this Pawsie collapsible dogs paddling pool (Argos, £19.99).
It comes without a lid and is easy to assemble, just fill up with cold water and leave your pets to it.
“Make frozen treats out of pet-friendly ingredients to keep your furry friend cool,” says Dr Gaines, who also suggests adding ice cubes to keep your pet’s water bowl.
This two pack silicone ice cube tray (Amazon, £8.51) is a handy kitchen essential that will benefit everyone in your household.
Add some to your pet’s bowl and to your own cocktails when it’s hot.
We’ll be stocking up on these Woof and Brew pawsecco freeze pops for dogs and cats (Amazon, £5.99) that will deliver instant refreshment for your pets.
Stick them in the freezer until they’re frozen, then dish them up. They’re non-alcoholic of course and don’t contain any grapes, but while you sip on your prosecco, they can enjoy munching on these.
For more heatwave essentials, read our guide to keeping cool while working from home here and everything you need to know about SPF here
Everything you need to keep cool while working from home