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It’s hot! Here’s how to keep your pet’s cool during the heat 

Saarrah Mussa
Written by  Saarrah Mussa
Updated: 06 Sep 2023

With the UK heating up, it’s important to take care of your pets. Whether you’re out sunbathing or inside in the cool air, make sure you're keeping your pets cool too.

Your pets can get affected by the heat just as much as you do, but animals physiologically deal with the heat differently than we do. This often means that your pet’s behaviour along with their eating habits may change. Some pets don’t take well to the heat while others love it. Be sure to monitor your pet’s behaviour so you can highlight if your pet needs urgent attention.  

It is important to note that all pets are susceptive to heat stroke however, some are at a higher risk than others. 

Here are some general tips on how to take care of your pets in the heat: 

  • Ensure that they have a place to stay that is cool, clean, and dry for them to be able to sleep, as well as access to food and continuous access to water. Never put a wet cloth on your pet to cool them down, this often has the opposite effect as it will trap the heat. A good option is a cooling bed or cooling mat, it gives a cool place for your pet to rest especially if your home is carpeted. 

  • When you take your cat or dog outside, ensure that they have access to shade and fresh water to keep them cool.  

  • Exercise is key but be sure not to overexert your pet. While it is often recommended not to take your pets outside during the hottest times of the day, exercise is especially important for dogs but too much can cause your pet to overheat. All pets need to get outside, consider moderate or gentle exercise in the shade to keep them active and introduce more mentally stimulating play to keep them entertained. 

  • Feed them a healthy diet. This will vary depending on the type of pet you have, so be sure to do your research. 

  • If you plan on taking your dog for a dip, be aware of any environmental warnings for ponds and rivers. Contaminated or algae-infested water can be dangerous to their health 

  • Frozen treats like pet-safe fruit can make a nice cooling snack (seedless watermelon is a popular favourite, but you can also use mango, banana, or blueberries). Beware of giving pets frozen treats or ice cubes straight from the freezer. They can be harsh on their teeth and large chunks of ice or frozen treats can become a choking hazard. Always monitor your pets when giving them ice or frozen foods. 

  • Keep water readily available. Throughout the day, especially on warmer days, it is important that your pet always has access to water. Some people like to put ice in their pet's water bowls to help cool them down. 

  • Time to go to the groomers – regular grooming is a great option. While we don’t see much heat in the UK, when we do, a less dense coat of fur can help your pet stay cool. However, excessive grooming can work against you. For some dogs and cats their fur acts as a thermal regulator to keep them warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.

  • Do not leave your pet alone in the car in this weather – you may think this one is a no-brainer, but it happens. Your car is likely to be scorching hot when you get in after an entire day of this heat. Now imagine your pet being in that car unable to escape the sun. Never leave your pet unattended in any enclosed or confined space without being able to escape the heat.  

  • If your pet is showing signs of fatigue or they aren’t acting normally, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up. This will help to keep them healthy, spot any issues early and help prevent any medical problems from occurring. Changes in your pet can be scary, if your pet is behaving strangely or differently than usual, it may be worth getting a vet appointment, some insurance policies allow you 24-hour online helplines for free consultations. 

Remember, a pet's environment is everything. Since extreme heat in the UK is quite a rare sight, our pets are often not accustomed to the weather change, especially a young pet. This can mean that they have trouble getting used to the heat and may act strangely in order to acclimate. It's best to monitor their behaviour and check in with your vet if your pet is experiencing any abnormal behaviour.

You also need to make certain changes to your pet’s routine to suit them best and keep them safe. With extreme weather events on the rise, it's important to understand the risks to your pet in weather changes and understand their coping mechanisms when it comes to these changes. This will help you acknowledge their normal changes to acclimate and cope with the weather change and be able to differentiate that from an actual issue being present that your vet will need to investigate. 

If your pet is starting to show signs of heat exhaustion, or dehydration, or you’re concerned your pet is overheated/stressed out by the heat, it’s always best to contact your vet first. In the meantime, move them to a cool place and ensure they have plenty of water to keep them hydrated. It may take a couple of days for your pet to get back to normal but that’s just them taking time to get used to the heat.   

Be sure you have the right pet insurance policy in place for your pet. Vet visits can get very expensive, especially if your pet needs treatment, with the right policy at hand, those costs can be absorbed by your insurer. Compare pet insurance with MoneySuperMarket today.