• Kim Bresseleers

Hot weather tips for pets

We are currently enjoying the summer weather with tropical temperatures. But just like people, pets can also suffer from the heat. It is therefore important to pay extra attention to them!

Hot weather tips for pet care:


In warm weather, animals eat less and drink a lot more. Therefore make sure you provide enough drinking water. Keep in mind that the water evaporates quickly. Therefore provide extra drinking bowls that cannot be knocked over and preferably place them in a shady place.

  • Change the water at least twice a day.

  • To keep the water cool, you can possibly add ice cubes. NOTE: However, the water should not be too cold. Ice cold water is not healthy. This causes the blood vessels to contract and makes it even more difficult to lose body heat.

  • If the animals have an automatic drinking pump, check the operation of it regularly.


Keep your pets indoors as much as possible, especially if you can keep the house cool. You do this by closing the curtains or lowering the shutters.

If your pets cannot be or are not allowed indoors, provide shade or a place where they can hide from the sun. Make sure there is no plastic, glass or corrugated iron in the shelter: this creates a greenhouse effect that makes it even warmer than outside.


There is nothing more delightful than paddling. Fill a bath with cold water or use the garden hose.


Animals can also get burned, especially if they have a white or light coat. The sensitive areas are the back, ears and nose. Use a sunscreen with a factor of 30 or more. There are special sunscreens that are non-toxic. First test the cream on a small area of skin to see if the animal is not allergic.

Common pet problems and hot weather:


You can recognize overheating when the animals look tired or lifeless.

  • Immediately place the animal in a cool environment and wet the bottom of the animal with lukewarm water or place the animal on a fresh, wet towel. You can also rinse the legs and stomach with lukewarm water.

  • Do not use too cold water, as this will close the blood vessels so that the excess heat cannot escape. Provide cool drinking water and let the animal drink a little every few minutes.

  • Consult a veterinarian if the condition of the animal does not improve after a few minutes. 


To prevent dehydration, make sure your pet drinks regularly. Providing sufficient fresh drinking water is an absolute necessity during warm periods.


Parasites can cause a lot of damage because they live on or in a host. During the warm periods ticks, fleas and mosquitoes are a major plague! You can protect your pets against this. Products can be found in a pet store. Discuss it with your vet.

Transport of pets in hot weather

  • Never leave your animal alone in a car! Even with relatively mild outside temperatures or in a shady place, the temperature in the car rises very quickly.

  • Avoid transportation in hot weather. If you do go out on the road, provide cooling and sufficient drinking water.

What to do with your pets if you are not at home during hot weather?

If you are not at home, ask a neighbor, family member, or friend to keep an eye out and protect your pets from the sun and heat, and provide them with water and cooling.

Specific hot weather tips per pet category:


  • Unlike humans, dogs hardly have sweat glands. Dogs can only lose their heat through their paw pads and by panting. If your dog is panting a lot in hot weather, you can assume that he's hot.

  • It is best not to walk your dog at the hottest time of the day. Rather, let him out early in the morning and wait until it cools down at night before walking. Always take water with you! Whether it's a full-day trip or a short walk through the park, it's important that your pet drinks enough when it's hot.

  • Avoid asphalt roads and preferably walk on the grass. This way, the paws of your four-legged friend will not burn!

  • During a walk your dog can also cool down in a river or lake. NOTE: Not every pool is equally safe.

  • Offer your dog refreshing treats, such as (yogurt) ice cubes, watermelon or frozen peanut butter. You can also give a low-salt broth or canned food to prevent dehydration.

  • There are also special cooling products available for dogs, such as a cooling mat or cooling collar. Just make sure the dog doesn't chew the material, so only use it if you can keep an eye on it.

  • A brushed coat prevents skin problems and can also help your dog stay "fresh". If your dog has long hair, consider a haircut (not a shave!). NOTE: Getting too short hair can cause your dog's skin to burn. In that case you do well to apply sun cream.


A cat that overheats will experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • lifelessness

  • drooling

  • panting or breathing rapidly

  • wanting to eat little or not

  • vomit

  • a body temperature of over 39 degrees

Usually cats find a cooler place themselves. If this doesn't work, make sure your cat can lie in the shade or go inside and that there is plenty of fresh drinking water available


You can recognize a rabbit or rodent that it is too hot by the following symptoms:

  • languor

  • bad food

  • the ears feel warm

  • the mucous membranes are intensely red

  • the inside of the eyelids are intensely red

You can make your own ice packs by filling plastic bottles 2/3 full with water and placing them in the freezer (not a glass bottle, it can burst). Put the bottle in the cage, possibly wrapped in an old tea towel, so that the rabbit cannot injure its nose from the ice-cold bottle. NOTE that the rabbit does not chew the bottle.

Make sure the cage is not exposed to the sun and clean the cage more often.

Rabbits regularly die from the skin maggot disease in hot weather. This disease is caused by the green meat fly that lays eggs in excrement or foul-smelling fur. Fly maggots cause septicemia and without prompt veterinary treatment, the rabbit can die within two days. Hygiene is therefore extra important in hot weather.


An overheated bird will display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • listlessness

  • breathes with the beak open

  • sits with spread feathers

Make sure the cage is not in the sun (air is also out of the question!) Or that there is sufficient shade in an aviary. It is better to lower a hanging cage, because heat rises.

Water is important to birds. Make sure they have enough drinking water throughout the day. Do they have a bath? Change the water regularly.


An aquarium is usually warmer than the ambient temperature. It won't get too hot, but stay alert and make sure the sun doesn't shine directly on the tank.


  • Give a salt block to replenish minerals lost through sweating.

  • Provide shady areas such as trees and adequate ventilation in stables and pens.

  • It pays to create a pool in the meadow, if you have the space for it. Do not make it too deep so that the animals can lie or roll. To prevent the animals from drowning, ensure an easy entry and exit.

Also read the following article:

'Frozen dog treats with bananas, peanuts and yoghurt'

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