Wednesday 21 November 2018

How to keep your pets safe and cool as temperatures reach up to 32C

Roly the Tibetan terrier & Kate O'Callaghan from Sutton enjoying the good weather in Stephens Green,Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Roly the Tibetan terrier & Kate O'Callaghan from Sutton enjoying the good weather in Stephens Green,Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Rachel Farrell

As Ireland basks in its hottest temperatures in decades, pet owners are being urged to ensure their animals stay cool and safe this summer.

With temperatures reaching up to 32C yesterday, the first time that the mercury has reached such heights here since 1976, the heat can be just as unbearable for animals as it is for some humans.

The ISPCA has shared its tips for keeping pets cool and hydrated during the heatwave.

Avoid walking dogs in the afternoon

The ISPCA recommend walking dogs in the early morning and late in the evening, when temperatures are cooler, and the sun is less strong.

"Before walking, test the asphalt or concrete surface you plan to walk your pet on with the back of your hand. Dogs have sensitive paw pads and can burn their feet," they said.

"If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s likely too hot for their feet."

Have fresh water readily available 

Refresh your pet's water more often than usual and ensure there's plenty nearby for them to drink during the day. Make sure you leave extra if you're heading out for the day and adding ice cubes to the water is a good way to keep the water cool.

Make sure they have access to the shade 

If temperatures continue to rise, consider keeping your animals indoors where they can stay shaded from the strong sun.

"If you have a rabbit or other small mammals in the garden, keep their living quarters in the shade. You could also cover the front of their enclosures with newspaper as they can heat up very quickly. 

"All caged animals, even if they are indoors, should be kept out of direct sunlight. Keep an eye on aviaries or birdcages, which are near to a window."

HOT: Sunbathers at Brittas Bay yesterday. Photo: Neil Carson
HOT: Sunbathers at Brittas Bay yesterday. Photo: Neil Carson
Sophie Ducasse (5) having fun in Skerries Pic:Mark Condren
Local children jump into Lake Corrib from Kilbeg Pier near Headford, Co. Galway during yesterdays heatwave. Photo: Tony Gavin 27/6/2018
Oussari, a male amur tiger, takes a dip in the water at Dublin Zoo as temperatures continue to soar. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 29, 2018. See PA story IRISH Zoo. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Beach Life Guards Oisin Corrigan and Briege Devaney on duty at the Bull Wall at Dollymount Beach. Pic Steve Humphreys 28th June 2018
From l to r are, cousins, Katie Kelly, 11, Sadie Duff, 3, Noah Duff, 20 months, Abbie Kelly, 10, from donnycarney enjoying the good weather in Clontarf. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 27/6/2018
Anthony and Sinead O’Farrell from Glenealy County Wickow with their dogs Gus and Millie in Ballina County Tipperary Pic:Mark Condren
Aveen McKenna Pereira, aged 4, from clontarf 4 enjoys the good weather in Clontarf. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 27/6/2018
Man at sea at Dollymount Beach. Pic Steve Humphreys 28th JUne 2018
Sophia Lavrinovica 2 from Blanchardstown enjoying the good weather on Portmarnock Beach Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Enjoying the heatwave in Ballina and Killaloe Pic:Mark Condren 26.6.2018
Girls pictured enjoying the water at Portmarnock Beach. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Enjoying the heatwave in Ballina and Killaloe Pic:Mark Condren 26.6.2018
28 Jun 2018; General view of boys from Malahide and Clontarf playing rugby in the sunshine on Burrow Beach, Sutton, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Repro Free Thursday 28th JUne 2018. Ships of all shapes and sizes have sailed into Galway Harbour this week for Irelands largest and most spectacular maritime festival, taking place this weekend. Among Galways ship-filled Harbour, will be a 45 metre super pelagic trawler, Girl Stephanie. This is a rare opportunity to tour a pelagic trawler and to talk to the Conneely family about life in Irelands fishing sector and to learn about fish stocks and the sustainable fishing in Ireland. Pictured welcoming Girl Stephanie to SeaFest are MacDara (8) and Seren (5) from Galway. Picture Jason Clarke
A man jumps into the sea at Salthill beach during sunny weather in Galway, Ireland June 26, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Diarmuid Earley (4) from Kildare enjoying the good weather Photo Gareth Chaney Collins
Alana Phelan enjoys the sunny weather in Galway’s Eyre Square. Picture: Xposure
People enjoying the good weather on Portmarnock Beach Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Christine DeOliveira and April Solon in St Stephen’s
Lauren Chaney and her brother Darragh enjoying the sun on Bull Island Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Cael Skehan enjoying the weather on Bull Island Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle

Heatstroke can be fatal for animals and keeping them in the car with the windows open isn't effective in preventing it, according to the ISPCA.

"Even if the temperature outside is 22°C, the inside of a car can reach 47°C. On a day that is 30°C or hotter, the inside of the car can reach fatal temperatures in under ten minutes. 

"Dogs in particular are at risk because they cool themselves by panting. If the air becomes too hot, they are unable to regulate their body temperatures."

Be extra careful with normal household items

If you're enjoying a barbecue in the sun, avoid feeding your dog the leftovers.

"Alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, chocolate, coconut, grapes or raisins, onions, raw meat or excessively salty foods or foods containing the sweetener xylitol can be toxic or cause serious health issues for your pet."

Dog's Trust also advise applying pet-friendly sun cream on to your dog's burned areas, but to avoid human sun cream, which can be toxic for dogs. 

Know the warning signs of overheating

  • Excessive panting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry or pale gums
  • Weakness, stupor or collapse

And for horses...

My Lovely Horse Rescue shared their top tips with Independent.ie for keeping horses cool in their stables and urged the public to keep an eye out for overheated stray horses on the sides of roads.

"The key things are the basics - access to shade and access to water. If stables are cooler during the daytime than out in the sun then keeping your pony in during the day and turning them out at nighttime instead is also a good way to keep them cool," they said.

"There are a few rugs you can get that reflect the sun’s rays. Sun block for white areas and pink skin (such as around the nose area, ponies can get sun burnt) as well.

"Avoid riding them at the hottest time of the day (midday to mid-afternoon) and if they’re struggling in the heat don’t do too much on them. Riding early morning or evening time is best.

"We’re asking people to give water to local ponies if they spot any that have no access to water. There are so many that we just can’t get to all of them ourselves. We’ve been recommending people don’t do this in their own but at least in pairs just for safety." 

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