Animal Welfare During a Heat Wave

Animal Welfare During a Heat Wave

On hot days, it’s important to think about our four legged friends because chances are, they are probably hotter than you are.  This article offers a few tips and solutions to help you keep your animals comfortable and cool during hot weather. Be sure to think about animal welfare during a heat wave!

Keep your pet well hydrated

No surprise here! Like their owner, animals must stay hydrated at all times and even more during hot periods. Make sure to give your pets water as often as possible during the day. The same goes for animals on farm. Think, for example, of cows, pigs or even horses, who drink large amounts of water on a normal day. Add a heat wave or drought in there and their water needs significantly amplify. Offer several areas on your property that allow for animals to have easy access to water, either on the ground, around the building or in your home. 

Place ice cubes in the water to keep it cool. One trick to encourage your pet to drink more frequently: put bowls of water throughout your house, instead of having one spot they can go to drink. When going out with your pet, bring more water than you think is enough for yourself and your companion. Also, try to avoid going out in peak heat times (afternoon) and aim instead to go in the morning or the evening when the weather cools down.

If the pavement is too hot, consider putting booties on your pet so they don’t injure or burn their pads. If the weather is too hot, indoor activities are best. Consider playing games to develop the animal’s mental faculties, to allow them to burn energy while avoiding the hot sun.

Avoiding the sun

Close curtains and blinds to prevent the sun’s rays from entering and heating the house. For bird owners, try as much as possible to keep them away from the windows. If allowed, installing a small shaded kiddie pool can prove to be the perfect refreshment tool for dogs who love the water and swimming. 

If you are on a farm, try to have a few places on land where animals can shade, like a shelter.

Identifying heatstroke in your pet

It is crucial to know how to recognize heat stroke in a pet! In case of heatstroke, the animal should see a veterinarian without delay. Here are some important symptoms to watch out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bright red gums
  • Disorientation
  • Body temperature exceeding 40 degrees Celsius

When transporting your animal to the vet, cool it with a cold towel over their body. Do not use ice cubes.

Also, watch out for dogs with flat noses, older animals and young people. They are more at risk of having difficulty breathing during heat waves!

Other tips and tricks

Here are some additional hips to keep your pets cool at all times:

  • Freeze a bottle of water and wrap it in a kitchen towel. Then place the cold bottle near the places where you pet is resting.  Your animal should stay near it to cool down.
  • Brush your pet often. A tangle free coat will be more comfortable for your pet, especially on a really hot day.
  • Leave a cold water base in the bath so that your companions can soak their paws from time to time.

During periods of extreme heat, get in the habit of observing the behavior of your animals and make sure they don’t lack any water or shade. Thanks to these tips, you now have some handy tools up your sleeve to make the hot days more pleasant and much safer for your animals!

Susan Wells

Store Manager, Bridgewater NS