Keeping your pet cool for summer

Image of a dog in the sun with his tongue hanging out
Rex did his best Gene Simmons impression
"Most people are aware of the risks of sunburn, heat stroke and skin cancer to people but most owners are unaware that our pets face the same dangers" Vicki Larkham-Jones, PDSA
  • | by Abbie Laughton-Coles

There are few things that whip us into a frenzy quite like our glorious yet fleeting summer, but the hot and humid weather can actually be a problem for our pets.

Having a ready-made fur coat can be ideal in the winter but when temperatures begin to soar, it becomes rather troublesome.

Thankfully we've sniffed out some tried and tested tips to keep your pets cool, calm and serene through the wondrous days of British summer.

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen

Image of a white cat peeping out from some grass

Twenty nine cases of pets with skin cancer were brought to veterinary charity PDSA between 2014 and 2015. In addition, the charity also treated dozens of cats and dogs for sunburn.

"People are aware of the risks of sunburn, heat stroke and skin cancer to people but most owners are unaware that our pets face the same dangers," said PDSA vet Vicki Larkham-Jones.

"Light coloured pets and those with thin coats, such as whippets and cats with white ears and noses are at highest risk as they have less natural protection against UV radiation from the sun."

Apart from making sure that they're kept out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, it's also possible to get special hypoallergenic sun cream to keep delicate areas, like their nose and ears, protected.

Mop chop

Image of a poodle having its hair cut

It may seem like an obvious one but keeping your cat or dogs fur trimmed regularly can really help prevent them from overheating.

"Frequent grooming will remove loose and excess hair and help to keep pets cool," said Lucy Ross, head of training at online pet supplies shop Pets Corner.

"It also improves circulation, coat conditions, brings out natural oils in the skin and allows you to bond with your pet."

Try grooming cats in the morning. That way, it gets rid of any matted fur which lets cooler air get to their skin during the day.

Don't forget the little ones

Image of two fluffy bunnys

It's not all about cats and dogs. If you have small mammals like rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, there are things you can do to keep them cool.

Bring any small pets inside or keep them in a shaded cool area, like a garage. You could even place frozen peas under their cage if it's particularly hot and humid.

If you think they may be a little parched but they're not going near their water bottle, treat them to fruit and vegetables with a high water content to compensate, like carrots and apples.

Bless you

Image of a dog frolicking in a field

"Allergies don't just affect humans in the warmer months but dogs too," said Becky Owens, spokeperson for Pooch and Mutt, a pet food company specialising in ingredients that target specific problems in dogs.

"The rise in grass pollen can manifest in our pooches via itching, scratching and biting of the skin. This can be quite distressing for dog owners."

A dog-friendly health supplement like their Bionic Biotic could help stop man's best friend scratching themselves silly.

Fetch the cold compress

Image of a cat drinking water

Stroking your cat with a slightly damp towel or cloth can really help lower their body temperature.

This is because it mimics the grooming technique cats employ to keep themselves cool. Just make sure it isn't freezing cold – that's a sure-fire way to upset your cat.

"Older cats can be particularly prone to dehydration," explains Angela Stringfellow from Pet Life Today.

"So keeping them cool and watered is a top priority."

Let's go walkies

Image of a dog carrying a stick in a river

It may go against what you've always been told, but try not to take your dog for too many walks during hot weather.

When you go out, do so in the morning or evening when the sun won't blaze down on your pooch and perhaps ease off the mountain trekking through the hottest parts of the day.

Anywhere with a lake or stream for splashing about is ideal.

Drive me crazy

Image of a dog in a car

It's also vital to keep your pet cool when you're travelling in a car.

Animal charity Blue Cross recommends making sure there's plenty of ventilation while the car is in motion, fitting sun screens on windows where your pooch sits and taking a misting spray to spritz your dog's body (not the face) with.

Of course, you should never leave your dog in a hot car while you go out either.

Find a pet insurance policy which will provide ample protection at a nice price for your furry pal with