I’m not melting, you’re melting. Actually, we’re all melting, as the Met Office has issued the first-ever red heat warning over extreme temperatures, with parts of the UK expected to hit over 40C this week.
And while we might all be reaching for the ice lollies, trying out hacks to make our fans work even harder and desperately googling how to sleep in the heat, it’s important we don’t forget about our four-legged friends.
Whether you have a dog or a cat, pet owners have taken to Tik Tok to share the hacks that have been working for them in a bid to help others protect their pets in the heat.
Have plenty of fresh water stations
Obvious tip first, but hydration is key 365 days of the year, so it’s important to up the water intake during the heat. @megleverett shared her water tips for keeping her cat hydrated, and of course this advice works for dogs, too. Meg places multiple bowls and cups of water around the house so water isn’t too far out of reach. To go the extra mile, Meg places ice cubes in the water to keep it fresh and cooler for longer. Meg also fills the bath with water, no more than a few inches, again for drinking and playing.
Do the hand test before heading for a walk
You’ve probably already heard that you should avoid walking your dog in this temperature, and this is certainly true, with the RSPCA explaining that heatstroke can kill a dog. If you do need to take them for a walk, go very early before the sun heats up. @mummyvetnurse advises taking them out in the very early hours of the day or in the late evening if it’s cooler. Vetsnow say it’s generally safe to walk dogs in temperatures of up to 19 degrees. Anything hotter is a risk of heatstroke. The vet experts then explain when the weather hits 28 degrees upwards, owners should take extreme caution, and actually this temperature is life threatening to all. Keep them in shaded areas if possible and most importantly do the hand test before heading out. This is when you put the back of your hand on the concrete and hold it there for a few seconds. This is to grasp how hot the floor is which could potentially burn their paw pads.
Cold towels and cooling mats to regulate the body
A lot of pet owners recommend using a pet cooling mat for them to lie on and help regulate their body temperature. But if you need a last minute solution and don’t have a cooling mat, @cotswoldfarmpark recommends you wet an old towel with cold water, ring it out and lay it flat on the floor in an accessible space. This will do a similar job, however, keep their bedding dry at all times and avoid putting the towel on your pets. Over time these will heat up and could make your pet hotter than before.
Make the inside of your home cooler
There are many things that TikTok users suggest you follow to keep your rooms cooler. @bruhpuppy says closing all windows in the daytime, blinds and curtains will keep the hot air and direct sunlight out. Alongside this, using a fan will help provide an air flow. Just make sure when placing your fan, that your pets can get away from it too in case they’re uncomfortable with the noise, feeling, or feel if it’s dehydrating them.
Consider suncream for pets
Despite the dangers, dogs and cats love a good sunbathe, and just like us can get better sunburn. @mummyvetnurse notes that if you have pets that are fair haired or have white fur, put it on places such as their ears, nose and where the fur isn’t thick.
Use treats to occupy
@livlikebusby suggests making frozen treats and ice lollies to keep them cool and busy while walks are off the menu. There are loads of recipes online to follow, but the most common recipe is using their regular treats, putting them in an ice cube tray with water and freezing them. You also have chews, licky mats, and snuffle mats to help let off some energy and to replace them by taking them outside on walks. If you need a quick and easy option, opt for frozen fruit and veg like carrots, watermelon and banana. Just be sure to check which fruit may be harmful to your pets. This may differ from dogs to guinea pigs.
Get a paddling pool
Think of it like jumping in a swimming pool abroad, @livlikebusby also recommends getting a paddling pool for your dog. Dogs release heat through their paws, so a pool is a great way to keep them refreshed, paw pads protected or if anything else it’s another drinking station if they need it.
Frozen bottles of water
@cotswoldfarmpark also recommends filling up bottles of water and freezing them so your pet can lay alongside them to keep cool. This works for all pets including guinea pigs.
Change the food you’re serving
Again, @cotswoldfarmpark has a great tip when it comes to feeding your pets. To put it into perspective, you most likely wouldn’t fancy a hot roast dinner in 40 degree heat, so with this in mind, try and provide your pets with a lighter meal than usual. @poppyrandall demonstrated her way of freezing a tin of dog food in a takeaway container, topped with water, adding a duck fillet and putting it in the freezer ready for tomorrow’s lunch. This will help slow down the eating process, keep pets cool while still having their usual nutritious meal.
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