(CNN)– Staying cool in hot weather is a challenge for humans. And for our pets?
In the UK, where temperatures hit a record high on Tuesday, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the British Veterinary Association The BVA recommends taking the following steps to ensure the safety of your dog, cat, or other pet in hot weather.
What not to do
Do not take your dog for a walk in the midday heat. Dogs have a hard time staying cool in high temperatures and are vulnerable to overheating. This is because they cannot sweat and rely on panting to cool their body temperature. Flat-faced breeds, such as English or French bulldogs and pugs, are at even greater risk, as they have a short muzzle that can make breathing difficult. Limit walks to early morning or late afternoon.
Never leave a dog, or any animal, in a car, trailer, greenhouse or shed on a hot or even mild day. Being cooped up in a car for even a few minutes can be deadly for a pet.
Do not put hutches or cages in direct sunlight at any time of day. Rabbits and guinea pigs cannot sweat or pant to regulate their body temperature and cool down.
Try the asphalt. Place your palm on the ground for five seconds before taking the dog for a walk. If it feels too hot for your hand, it will be too hot for the dog’s paws.
Make sure your pet has adequate shade. Provide additional shade for guinea pigs by covering the tops of the wire mesh pens with damp towels.
Give all pets constant access to fresh water. You can even put ice cubes in his bowl.
Provides a cool place to rest. This can include wet towels to lay on, but don’t place the wet towel on your dog as it can trap heat.
Use sunscreen. Some breeds of dogs and cats, especially those with lighter or finer coats, can also benefit from sunscreens, especially on the tips of the ears, which are prone to sunburn.
“The BVA recommends avoiding sunscreens with zinc oxide to avoid zinc toxicity. If pet-safe products are difficult to find, hypoallergenic or baby products may be suitable.
It’s a good idea to consult a veterinarian to ensure the correct sunscreen is applied in the correct place,” Justine Shotton, president of the BVA, wrote on the association’s website.
Pay attention to the first signs of sunstroke. In dogs, these include heavy panting, drooling, restlessness, red or very pale gums, and incoordination. Signs of heat stroke in rabbits are drooling, salivation, lethargy, short shallow breathing, hot red ears, runny nose and seizures.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke or any other heat-related condition, move it to a cool, well-ventilated area. Give him small amounts of cool (not ice-cold) water to drink, and pour room temperature water on him to cool him down. Seek advice immediately from your veterinarian.
Check sheds and greenhouses before closing them. Cats like cozy places, but they risk becoming too hot or dehydrated if they get trapped.
Groom your cat or dog regularly. Regular grooming in hot weather can help remove dead or excess hair, leaving your cat or dog with a less thick coat, which will help keep them cool.
Follow your dog’s usual diet. Fruits like watermelon and blueberries are suitable as a treat from time to time, the British Veterinary Association said in response to a question from CNN, but the shells could be a choking hazard.
“We strictly discourage the sharing of ice cream or other human foods for pet and human health reasons. Obesity is currently one of the biggest health concerns seen by veterinarians in practice.”