Animals get hot too

2015-12-08 06:00

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While many Capetonians are revelling in the warmer weather, it’s important to spare a thought for our furry friends this time of year.

Just like humans have to take care, animals are exposed to a myriad of health concerns in the summer months.

Heatstroke, for example, can be fatal for dogs. Dogs with short snouts or long hair are among the more prone breeds.

The obvious tip when it comes to heat is to not leave animals in the car. Yet, still many owners do. According to the SPCA, the temperature inside a car can climb up to 47°C in the span of an hour, even when it’s just 22°C outside.

Many people are unaware of the effect of hot surfaces on little paws. Surfaces like tar, metal and even sand absorb heat and can stay warm for hours after the sun has passed over and burn the pads on the underside of a pets’ paws. A good test is to hold the back of your hand against the surface for about 10 seconds – if it’s too hot for you, it will be too hot for your pet.

Pets, particularly lighter ones, are susceptible to sunburn, just like humans. While making sure they have a cool, shady place to escape the sun is the best option, many vets also stock pet sunscreens.

Then there are the bugs. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and mange mites love the heat, so it’s even more important to ensure the critters are controlled at this time of year.

Pet owners should keep an eye out for dry or itchy skin, sores, lumps and bumps or shaking of the head, as well as changes in animal behaviour.

And because all “good boys” deserve a treat, why not fill a 2F ice cream tub with water and treats, freeze it and watch your pet enjoy hours of fun and cooling down while they lick through the ice to get to their surprise.

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