As forecasters predict another hot bank holiday weekend ahead, make sure your pets are comfortable and happy outdoors too.

Natures Menu’s Veterinary team has shared its top tips on keeping your dog cool and how to spot the warning signs.

  • Cars: We all know leaving an animal in a car is a ‘no no’ yet many owners are still offenders. No matter how quickly you are nipping into the shop, this is something that should not be done, regardless of whether a window is left open or not. Equally, conservatories or greenhouses can have the same effect when the temperatures soar with an animal having no way of escape or cooling down. To avoid this, take your dog out of the car with you, or leave them at home altogether in a cool room.
  • Keep water bowls topped up: As humans, on a hot day, we consume more litres of water than usual and the same goes for our pets. With their thick coats and only their paws to sweat from, cats and dogs find it more difficult to regulate their temperature and are therefore more likely to become dehydrated. Ensure their water bowl is constantly topped up or leave multiple bowls out for them if you plan on being away for a longer period of time.
  • Avoid the midday sun: As well as being the hottest part of the day, midday is often when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Avoid going for walks at this time, particularly with dogs that are white or with closely shorn fur as they can be prone to sunburn. Cats with thin coats are also at risk from sunburn, which can lead to skin cancer, particularly on their ears and noses. Speak to your vet to get advice on pet friendly sun cream and try to keep them out of the sun’s direct rays as much as possible.
  • Pavement check: Pavements can become very hot and burn pet paws so only go for walks at the coolest times of the day. You can check the ground isn’t too hot by simply pressing your hand to the pavement for at least 5 seconds.
  • Watch what they eat: Remember food and drink found at summer BBQs can often be poisonous to pets such as grilled onions, chocolate and alcoholic beverages. Corn on the cobs and kebab skewers can also cause blockages and be choking hazards for pets, so keep out of your pet’s reach.
  • Those most at risk: Some pets are at a greater risk of heat stroke than others. Take extra care if they are overweight, have short or flat noses or thick/long fur. Also keep a closer eye on the very young, very old and unwell pets who may struggle more in high temperatures.
  • Spot the symptoms: As well as taking precautionary measures to help your pet in the hot weather it’s important to be able to spot the symptoms that they might be unwell. Excessive panting, anxious pacing or in severe cases collapse or convulsions are all signs that your pet may be suffering from heat stroke and requires immediate medical attention.

Natures Menu Vet, Claire Miller, said, “It’s important to look after our pets in hot and sunny weather, with their thick coats often meaning they find it harder to regulate their own body temperature and, of course, they are unable to tell us if they are feeling unwell!

As pet parents we all want the best for our cats and dogs, so keep their wellbeing top priority in the hot weather and don’t be tempted to give them human treats at parties or BBQs. Natures Menu is the UK’s leading expert in raw and raw-inspired pet food and has a range of meals that your four-legged friends are sure to love and enjoy throughout the heat.”

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