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Most of us are pretty sun savvy – we know to cover up, wear sunscreen, drink plenty of fluids and stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. Even with these precautions we often need a dip or a cold shower to keep our temperatures under control! But what about our four-legged friends? They also feel the heat and with many of them having their own ‘fur coat’ they often suffer more than us!

Our pets rely on us to make sure we extend the same concern and care to them as we do to ourselves on hot days - the same principles of sun safety apply to our pets as us:

Cover them up – No, you don’t need to put a hat on them but they do need access to shade or a cool indoor area at all times.

Wear sun screen – If your cat or dog has white colouration especially on their noses or ear tips then they too are at risk of sun damage which can lead to skin cancer. With these pets sun block should be applied to these areas for protection. Animal sun blocks are available.

Drink plenty of fluids – Your pets should always have access to fresh water even during cool days! On hot days consider putting ice in their water bowl throughout the day to keep their water cool.

Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day – THIS IS IMPORTANT! Dogs should ONLY be walked in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are at their coolest as walking them at any other time may cause them to severely overheat. Keeping animals indoors in the cool during the middle of the day is also ideal.

Take a shower – Water can be a very useful way to cool our pets down as well as ourselves – consider cold hosing your dog if it’s very hot or laying a damp cool towel over them which will also help keep their temperature down. For very thick-coated dogs shaving during the summer months should always be considered.

Unfortunately sometimes our pets are overlooked on hot days and this can result in heat stroke, a serious condition, causing your pet to become very unwell. If left untreated heat stroke can be fatal within a very short time. Every year a few pets are lost to heat stroke. Hopefully, with vigilance and a few precautions we can avoid any further losses!

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