Animal Aid

Keep them cool

Posted 14 May 2008

Now that summer is here, we should remember that animals suffer and die in hot weather. Avoid the worst of the heat by walking dogs early morning and late evening, and remember that they will drink more in hot weather, so keep an eye on water bowls. Leaving dogs in a car for any period - irrespective of whether the window is lowered - can kill them in minutes.

Other animals, including rabbits die from heat stress, too. Rabbits must not be left in a hutch in the glaring sun or inside a sweltering garage or shed. They need a cool, shady place where the air circulates, and to be able to move freely. In summer, their water should be refreshed several times a day. A hot rabbit can be kept cool by applying cold water gently to his ears or by placing in his run a frozen water-filled plastic bottle. Should your rabbit become listless, start breathing hard through an open mouth or go limp, get him to a vet immediately. Rabbits must also be checked daily throughout summer months for signs of flystrike.

Smaller animals, like hamsters, rats and gerbils, can be kept cool by opening windows and closing curtains, using a fan (but not pointing it directly at them), refreshing water and providing a frozen water bottle, wrapped in a towel so that it cannot be chewed.

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