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Tips on Keeping your Animals Cool this Summer

With Britain gripped by a heatwave, pet owners should make sure all animals are kept cool and healthy this summer. Dogs, cats, horses, rodents and other small animals can all feel the effects of extreme heat, particularly with the soaring temperatures of late, which have left owners unprepared.


While people can suffer the dangerous effects of heat stroke, the condition is much worse for animals. Heat stroke is life-threatening for dogs, who perspire only around their paws and nose. This isn't sufficient to cool their body temperature and if they don't have access to cool air, they can overheat and die.

Dogs should never be left in a hot car! If your dog is left in a confined space, with no fresh air, they will quickly overheat. Breeds with short muzzles and flat faces, such as the British bulldog or pugs, are more at risk, as they have smaller nasal passages and it's harder for them to breathe in sufficient air.

The symptoms of heat stroke in animals include high body temperature, distressed behaviour, excessive saliva, excessive panting in the case of dogs and bright red or purplish-blue gums due to a lack of oxygen to the tissues.

Heat stroke can kill - in the event of an animal suffering in this way, seek veterinary attention immediately and keep the pet as cool as possible on the way to the vets by spraying them with a cool water supply from a bottle. Never suddenly submerge them in icy water, as this can be as dangerous as the heat stroke.

It's far better to take preventative measures, rather than let an animal get to the stage where their life is at risk due to extreme heat. Take a look at our handy tips on keeping your animals cool this summer...



Don't take your dog for as many walks as usual, especially in the midday sun. Remember too that the pavement can burn your dogs' paws if it reaches a high temperature. Test the pavement with your bare skin to make sure it's safe for your dog's pads.

It's best to walk in the morning and if possible choose areas where there's a stream to splash around in. Take a bowl and bottled water on long walks. Ensure there are shady spots in your garden and give your dog a wet towel to lie on, or an ice pack. Get them a kids' paddling pool if possible!

Try to keep at least one room of your home airy and cool. Make sure there's always plenty of clean water available. If your dog has light fur, or has any bald spots, apply sunscreen. Dogs can get sunburn too, even on the tips of their ears. If you have a long-haired dog, get them a short haircut for summer.



Make sure there's a shady, cool area in the house where your cats can go, especially if they've been out. To help cool them down, gently stroke them with a damp towel. As with dogs, apply sun cream if your cat has light fur, or if it’s a hairless variety.

If possible, keep your cat indoors during the hottest part of the day, between 10am and 3pm. Keep checking their feet to make sure their pads haven't burned on the hot pavement.

Always check your shed, garage or outhouse before locking them if you've had the door open, as your cat may have wandered in to find a cool spot to sleep.


Small animals

Pets such as rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and other small furry animals also need to be protected during a heatwave. If they live outdoors, make sure they have a shady area in their enclosure.

Consider finding a space indoors for them, either in your home or in your garage, at least during the hottest periods of the day. If you have long-haired rabbits or guinea pigs, try cutting their hair short during the summer months. Keep them well-brushed to remove any excess fur, which will make them hotter.

Make sure rabbits are fed a large quantity of fresh vegetables to keep them well-hydrated. Putting frozen water bottles in the cage gives them something to sit against.



Ensure horses have access to a shelter or a shady area, so they're not out in the blazing sun all day. It's best not to ride your horse during the hottest part of the day. After a ride, wash off any sweaty areas, as this can attract flies.

Always ensure there's plenty of cool, fresh water available. Leave out a salt lick to replenish any nutrients lost by sweating.

If you absolutely must work your horse during hot weather, lighten the workload and keep it to a minimum until a cooler period of the day in the late afternoon.

During a heatwave, Coruba’s animal matting can be used to provide a more comfortable area for your four-legged friends to relax!

Please contact us on 01702 560194 for further information on our animal matting products.

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