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With the weather beginning to warm up, it is more than likely that you’ll be emphasising spending time outside, making the most of the Great British summer. However, if your pets are also running free, enjoying some time in the garden and making the most of the sun’s rays, then it is essential that you know how to ensure that they’re staying safe. Animals such as domestic cats and dogs can sometimes suffer from the bouts of heat that summer brings. Discomfort and sunburn can accompany the warmth, and with the possibility of dehydration causing some serious long-term health problems, it is vital that you are prepared for their change in needs. 

Dogs 

Dogs are one of the most common household pets, but they can also suffer the most if unprepared for the summer heat. Heatstroke is one of the most dangerous things that you need to look out for during a heatwave, as it can be lethal if left untreated. Dogs can sometimes find it challenging maintaining their body temperature, with some breeds and types of dogs more prone to this; old or young dogs, as well as dogs with thick coats or short, flat faces are more susceptible to this. If you feel as though your dog may be struggling with the heat, look out for extreme panting, a lack of coordination and sickness. To make sure that they don’t end up suffering over the next couple of months, your four-legged friend needs to be doused in cool water, with access to a fan also proving to be helpful. It is also vital that there is drinking water available to them, but this should be administered in small quantities. 
 
Besides heatstroke, another symptom that your dog may need to seek refuge from the sun is if they are excessively panting. Panting in dogs is standard, as it is the primary way in which they regulate their temperature. With this in mind, if they seem to be panting more than usual, it could be a symptom of dehydration. When a dog pants, the water evaporates from their tongue, using up a large section of their water supply. Although dogs of all ages should have access to water, those that are slightly older will find this the most beneficial, especially if they have an underlying health problem. 
 
There is also a number of other things that you can do to make your pooch as comfortable as possible in the heat. For those of you with longer-haired dogs, regular grooming to remove excess hair will allow them to keep cooler. However, avoid shaving their coats as this can put them at risk of sunburn. If you need to pop to the shops or visit a friend, one of the most vital things to remember is to not leave your dog unattended in a car, as this is one of the most dangerous things that you can do. When the weather is at its hottest, it takes just twenty minutes to seriously harm your pet and can even result in death. 

Cats 

There are many different varieties of cats, and depending on how much freedom you allow them, their summer experience can alter significantly. For the majority of the cats, they love basking in the sun. However, if it gets too hot, there are a couple of things that you can do to make it more comfortable for them. Replacing the water in their drinking bowl ensures that it stays fresh and cold and encourages them to drink more. If you’re worried that their liquid intake isn’t quite as high as it should be, place bowls around the house and garden so that it is always conveniently located for them. 
 
If your cat spends a lot of time outside, it may be beneficial for them to have some shaded areas so that they can escape the heat occasionally to cool down. If there is nowhere in your outdoor space that this is possible, it is crucial that they have access to the inside of your home to do so. 
 
Much like with dogs, regular grooming can stop their coat from becoming too thick and warm. This is something that you need to do on a regular basis if their fur is long and thick and, in fact, clipping of this hair to make it a shorter, more manageable length for them may also be useful. On unusually warm days, wiping over their coat with a wet towel can come in handy. This moisture will soothe their skin and will cool them off quickly yet safely. However, this is also important as it stops them from getting dehydrated from using their tongue to do the same thing. 

Rabbits and Guinea Pigs 

If your small animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, live outside, it is of paramount importance that they are covered in the shade. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by draping something over the top of their cages, such as a towel or a blanket. For those of you who are worried that they may get dehydrated, adding some extra celery and apple to their food for the day will give them that little bit of added moisture also. 
Here at Plantabox, we understand that your pets are incredibly important to you, so why not invest in a wooden pet crate to keep all their belongings in? Not only is this the perfect space saver, but allows you to keep all their things together, making it easy when looking for their favourite ball or treats. If you’re interested in discovering how you could benefit one, take a look here or, for more information on how our crates can be the perfect addition to your home, take a look at our blog here! 
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