We might just be experiencing one of the hottest summers this year in the UK. With the temperature on the rise, pets are at risk of heat-related health issues. British Veterinary Association (BVA) reports that about two-thirds of vets (64%) reported treating animals being affected by heat-related conditions in 2018. This year, vets gave out warnings and even a piece of odd advice to pet owners on how to help their furry companions combat the heat.
Crippling heat is creeping in on some parts of the country as the blistering temperature climbs higher. A whopping 27.6°C in Heathrow in west London was recorded as the highest temperature. Met Office recorded high temperatures at High Beach, Essex, which soared up to 26°C and at the Iver water works in Buckinghamshire which reached 25.9°C.
AccuWeather meteorologists also predict that several parts of Europe including some areas in the UK will experience extreme heat. According to Tyler Roys, an AccuWeather Meteorologist, temperatures across southern England and the Midlands can skyrocket to 32°C (90°F).
No to Sunburn
After the Met Office predicted a high rise of temperatures on some parts of Britain, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) gives a piece of odd advice to pet owners. BVA suggests to apply sun cream to the pet’s ears and nose to prevent sunburn.
Although administering sun creams on pets may seem uncommon, it is an effective method in protecting them from destructive UV rays. Cats and dogs with finer or lighter-coloured furs will benefit much from this since they are more at risk of sunburns. BVA added that pet owners may ask help from the local vet to know if they are applying the right sun cream in the right body parts of their furry friends.
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In BVA’s Autumn 2018 Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, it was recorded that 51% of vets treated animals that are suffering from heatstroke. Moreover, 36% of vets reportedly gave treatment to animals that are experiencing heat-related conditions. Heart diseases, burnt paws, sunburn, breathing difficulties, and burnt paw pads are some of these heat-related conditions.
BVA pointed out that canines find it difficult to cool down during high temperatures and humid conditions. Thus, it makes them more susceptible to overheating. The intense heat is also highly dangerous for brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds such as pugs and bulldogs. Since these breeds have short muzzles, they might have difficulties in breathing which will hinder them from cooling down.
A twenty-minute walk in the middle of a hot day can be harmful to canines too. A vet, who participated in the survey, shared seeing a double-coated dog lose consciousness after a twenty-minute walk under the scorching sun. The pooch’s temperature was 43°C, which is 5°C above the normal body temperature. Despite the attempt of a team of vets and nurses to save his life, the dog succumbed to heatstroke.
BVA encourages pet owners to take simple steps in keeping their pets comfortable despite the heat. For instance, they should make sure that their furry friends have enough fresh water to drink. Providing a well-ventilated area is also important to prevent pets from getting heatstroke. Lastly, pet owners are discouraged from leaving pooches inside vehicles. RSPCA warns that it takes ‘just six minutes’ for a pooch to die in a hot car.
Beat the Heat
Back in 2018, a handful of pets suffered from heat-related illnesses such as heatstroke, sunburns, and breathing difficulties. Since the heat is intensifying this summer, it is all the more important to keep a close eye on your pet.
Be sure to take precautionary measures as advised by BVA to protect your furry friend from the extreme heat. Apply sun cream to his ears and nose for defence against harmful UV rays as suggested by BVA. Keep in mind to provide him with adequate amounts of water and a properly ventilated area. Most importantly, never leave your dog in the vehicle unattended in any weather condition as temperatures can fluctuate rapidly within ten minutes.