Dogs, birds and guinea pigs are particularly prone to heat stress. There are several basic ways to help keep your pet cool in summer and avoid heat related health problems.
1. Don’t walk your dog on a hot day! Just don’t do it. Most dogs will never say no to a walk, but you should grant them a lazy day when its hot (> 27 degrees) outside.
If you do go for a walk, then go either very early in the morning (before 7am) or very late in the evening (after 8pm) and keep the walk short.
Before you walk in the evening take your shoes off and walk barefoot on the path/road/sand you plan to use -if your feet are finding it hot and uncomfortable then spare a thought for your dog. Walking on grass maybe more pleasant and protective booties can also be considered (see: tinyurl.com/y87sguwm for a comparison on the types of booties available) to stop pads being burnt.
3. Wet your pet down to the skin – if using a hose let the water run for a few minutes first as the first water is normally very hot. You can use spray bottles, sprinklers (these can be set on a timer) , and kids wading pools/clam shells (so long children don’t also have access to the area) are great to soak the feet and belly in. For short coated dogs a wet t-shirt or even a wet towel to lie on in the shade can help.
N.B. Fans can be used to help circulate the air but don’t provide much cooling unless your pets skin is also wet (in humans’ fans work because we have lots of sweat glands in our skin, the fan helps sweat to evaporate and hence it cools – pets don’t have sweat glands in their skin, so a fan alone doesn’t do much)
4. Ice packs and ice blocks can be placed in water bowls, and an ice block (e.g. use an ice cream container filled with water) left to lick on the grass is also often appreciated.
5. Provide lots of shade e.g. trees, shade cloth and consider insulating the roof of the dog kennel
6. Always provide numerous sources of water in different spots in case one gets tipped over and so at least one is in the shade at various times of the day.
Birds and guinea pigs
-Spray water onto the roof and floor of the aviary /cage
-Insulate the roof and western side of aviary/cage.
-Place the aviary /cage in the shade or cover with shade cloth
-Provide a fan
-Provide lots of water sources to drink and bathe in. Use ice bricks in the water to keep it cool
-Mist or spray the birds lightly with water