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Protect pets from the heat

The Pet Care Trust, the national charity promoting responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, has put together some tips to help keep pets cool this summer. The UK saw its warmest June for thirty years, and high temperatures are set to continue throughout the summer. It is important that pets are not forgotten in the battle to keep cool.

• Ensure pets have access to a constant supply of fresh, clean water. Take plenty of water when travelling with your pet. Monitor elderly pets as they are likely to be more lethargic and may not get up to drink water if they are too hot.

• Make sure pets have access to plenty of shade and keep them inside when possible.

• Never leave an animal unattended in a car. Even with the windows open, a car can get hot enough to kill a pet in minutes.

• Watch for heatstroke. Overweight, elderly, very young or ill animals are most at risk. Symptoms include panting excessively, salivating, reddened eyes and gums, weakness, seizures and collapse. Move any pet with heatstroke to somewhere cool, and reduce the animal’s temperature by immersing the body in cold water or wrapping it with wet towels. Spray with water. Then seek veterinary advice.

• Animals with light-coloured noses and fur are vulnerable to sunburn, so try to keep them out of the sun. Rub non-toxic waterproof sun block on unprotected areas like the tips of ears and the nose.

• Limit exercise, and let pets out earlier or later in the day when temperatures are cooler. Never force them to run in hot, humid weather.

• Keep pets well groomed, especially longhaired ones. A tangle-free coat will help protect delicate skin and keep it cool in the sunshine.

• Finely mist animals with water to help cool them down.

• Place circulating fans near pet beds.

• Put a ceramic or marble tile in a favourite place as a cool spot to lie on.

• Half-fill plastic bottles with water then freeze them. Pets can lie next to these to keep cool.

• Place wet towels or refrigerated towelling coats over pets to cool the body.