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2 minute read
29 Oct 2018
12:10 pm

Tips to help your pet deal with a scorching SA summer


As temperatures soar, people and pets tend to spend more time outdoors.

Keep your pooch and your cat cool this summer

Even though your pets are equipped to deal with the heat, keeping them outside or locked indoors on a particularly hot day with no added precautions can have disastrous consequences. Luckily, there are a few simple tips to keep your pet comfortable during another scorcher of a South African summer.


To encourage cats to drink, change water bowls around the house a few times a day. For dogs, make sure they have a large enough bowl of fresh, cool water. Add ice cubes if possible.

Shade and ventilation

Cats and dogs, whether inside or outside, need cool spots to relax. Make sure cats have shady spots in the garden. Inside cats will tend to lie on tiled surfaces. If your house tends to get hot, put a fan on a low setting in a central area, such as the kitchen or near an open window. Elevate your cat’s bed for extra ventilation. Dogs that spend most of their time outside need well-ventilated shelter. Kennels are great for rainy weather, but trees provide excellent shade due to the increased air flow. Consider putting in a splash pool or sprinkler.


It is essential to have a daily grooming routine. Cats must be brushed to keep their fur mattfree, which will help cool them down. Cats generally don’t mind a bit of moisture on their fur, so gently stroke it with a damp wash cloth.

Dogs must also have tangles removed. It is not advised to shave your dog before speaking to a vet. However, if your pup has long fur, you can make it shorter, but do not cut close to the skin.

Safety first

Leaving windows open can be a risky business as cats tend to sneak into small crannies to cool down. Always check under your car. If you are leaving windows open to ventilate your house, do not open them too wide. Dogs that exercise in the heat are at risk of getting heatstroke. Limit exercise in the summer for when the day has cooled down. This is especially important in humid areas.

Pets suffering from heatstroke will exhibit the following symptoms: excessive panting and drooling; lethargy; rapid heartbeat; dark or red gums and tongue; agitation; fever; vomiting and/or collapse.

  • Sources: Pets WebMD; Pet West Animal Hospitals website

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