They are much more susceptible to life-threatening heatstroke than humans. With some tricks the summer heat can become more bearable for our animal housemates. The Susy Utzinger Animal Welfare Foundation arranged the most important advices for pet owners.
For dogs: No strenuous bicycle tours in the heat and no long walks at lunchtime. If possible, move along the water and choose the cool forest to walk your dog early in the morning and in the evening. Avoid walking on asphalt to protect your dog's paws: Even at an air temperature of 25°C the ground can heat up to 52°C and seriously damage the paws. For unavoidable car journeys with the dog, it is advisable to darken the windows of the car (by a specialist or even with tinted adhesive foil). But never let the dog wait in the car: The car heats up already starting from 15 degrees within a few minutes so strongly that it becomes a death trap for the four-legged friend. It is equally important to always provide the dog with enough fresh water.
For cats: Many cats don't think much of bathing, but you can cool it down a bit by moistening the cat's ears on the outside. Just as pleasant and cooling is the stroking with moistened hands for the cat. Cats can also get sunburn from direct sunlight, white cats are particularly susceptible. Therefore it is recommended to apply an unscented sunblock (for babies) to the ears and nose area of particularly sensitive animals. Wet food spoils quickly: The dosage of smaller portions early in the morning or evening is recommended as well as the installation of additional water bowls.
For rabbits, guinea pigs and the like: Moistening the outside of the ears also provides pleasant cooling for rodents. In addition, it is important to provide sufficient fresh air and shade in the outlet. Never place the small animal shelter directly on the balcony floor, as it heats up strongly. In order to avoid dehydration, several drinking options should be offered.
For exotic birds: The bird cage must not be exposed to the blazing sun: a place in the shade is vital. Despite the heat, birds should not stand in a draught, as there is a risk of catching a cold. For a pleasant refreshment provide a bath, alternatively many birds also like a shower from the spray bottle.
Many more tips about animals and everything about the work of the foundation can be found at www.susyutzinger.ch.
Susy Utzinger Stiftung für Tierschutz,
Tel. 052 202 69 69