“WAVES” explains Peter Bishton, Veterinary Ireland’s deputy chief executive, “stands for WAter, VEntilation and Shade, three things essential to all pets during the summer months, and Veterinary Ireland has come up with this short acronym to help pet owners keep their dog and cat family members safe and healthy throughout the summer”.
“Having adequate drinking water available for your pet at all times is of prime importance,” explains Mr Bishton. “Ensure that water bowls are kept topped up, and when out, have a separate water bottle available for your dog. A pop-up camping bowl is also useful to ensure that your dog can take in adequate water. Short drinks on a regular basis are better than one long drink, and make sure that the water is not too cold.”
While most people would know that keeping a dog in the car during a hot spell is dangerous, it is equally important to ensure that rooms, such as a bedroom, kitchen, or especially a glazed conservatory, are well ventilated, shady and kept at a comfortable temperature for your pet.
“Ventilation is a major factor in keeping your pet comfortable in summer, and provides not only a cooling breeze, but also assists your pet to breathe and cool down”. Unlike humans, dogs are unable to sweat through the skin, but cool down through panting. Panting is not as efficient as sweating and so dogs can find it difficult to cool down as quickly as humans when it is hot.
Providing a cool, shaded space for your pet to rest, either at home or when out, is also essential. “Shade is critically important, as pets can also suffer from sunburn,” states Mr Bishton. “While there are sun protection products available from your vet, ears, noses, paw pads, and areas where the fur is thinner, such as on the stomach, can still get sunburn. The best action is to create a shady spot at home, or if out, find a cool spot under trees or bushes, or carry a light shawl with you to create a sun-shelter, with ventilation and water.”
For any aspect of care for your pet, at any time of year, your vet is the best person to contact with any questions, or to seek specific advice. Keep the veterinary practice’s number in your mobile and do not hesitate to call.
“Don’t forget”, concludes Mr Bishton, “it is essential to provide plenty of fresh water, adequate ventilation and cool shade for your pet, whatever it is doing.”
So, be sure to give your pet dog or cat plenty of WAVES this summer!