Temperatures above 30 ° C are sometimes almost unbearable for humans. Animals struggle with heat, too. Indra von Gersdorff of the animal shelter Überlingen gives advice on how owners can help their loved ones on hot summer days – and what signs to see your vet.
How does a dog behave in the heat?
Since dogs have few sweat glands on their paws and nose, they can only cool their bodies by panting. Heavy panting can already be a warning sign of overheating, and breathing becomes shallow. Other signs of heat stroke can be red or pale mucous membranes. “Owners can, for example, check the eyes,” says expert von Gersdorf.
If the dog remains in heat despite the initial signs, the condition can rapidly deteriorate. Then there can be tremors, vomiting and loss of consciousness. “In any case, the animal must be cooled, for example with cold towels,” explains von Gersdorf. A veterinarian should be consulted.
How do dogs cool in the heat?
cold food: Indra von Gersdorff loves to give shelter dogs food that will cool them down a bit in the summer. For example, owners can mix cheese with regular food or a banana, freeze it and give the dog to eat.
a lot of water: It is also important to get enough fluids. Von Gersdorff advises mixing the feed with water. This way, the dog will automatically take in more fluids. Swimming and splashing around Lake Constance can also be a way to cool off from the heat. “Alternatively, you can build a dog pool and set it up in the garden or on the balcony,” says the expert.
Walk Early in the morning: If the temperature is high, walking should be postponed to the early morning and late evening hours. Important: Always take water with you for your dog. If you’re not sure if the asphalt is too warm for your feet, you can put your hand on the asphalt and check the temperature. Von Gersdorf stresses that dog shoes are not a solution against hot asphalt. Because heat builds up in the shoe.
Do not leave the dog in the car: Under no circumstances should dogs be left in the car in the summer. “It’s not possible,” says Indra von Gersdorff clearly. Such a procedure can end not only with heat stroke, but also with the death of the animal. Anyone who sees a dog alone in a car in the summer should call the police. Together with the animal rescue, the dog is released from the car. The owner is facing criminal charges.
How well can horses tolerate heat?
Horses tolerate warm temperatures better. This is because they are accustomed to drought from their past as steppe animals. “Horses have good heat regulation,” explains Indra von Giersdorf. “Depending on their physical condition, age, and condition, dry heat is not a problem for them.”
The situation is different with the intense, humid heat, which can “make things difficult” for horses. One of the early signs of heat stroke is a high body temperature. Usually these are around 37 to 38 degrees Celsius. Even an increase of two to three degrees can become a problem. According to experts, heating leads to kidney failure, colic (severe stomach pain), or seizures.
At the first sign of overheating, the horse should be placed in the shade immediately. “Body temperature can be slowly cooled with water,” explains Indra von Giersdorf. It is important that you then remove the water from the skin, then the cooling will be more effective.
How can you make everyday life easier for horses in the heat?
Pairing times and shaded areas: Instead of the midday heat, horses can go to the paddock in the early morning or at night in summer. Once the sun comes up, shaded spots are important. Indra von Giersdorf explains that at temperatures above 30 ° C, the horse should not be in the ring.
air supply: If horses are kept in a shaded stable at high temperatures, care must be taken to ensure that the air supply is regulated, for example through two open doors. Otherwise it can get too warm in the barn.
Bath and water fun: Sufficiently cool, clean water is essential for horses in the heat. Because four-legged friends regulate their body temperature by sweating – and they lose a lot of fluid at high temperatures. Water is also a fun way to cool off after a ride. The legs should be washed first, then slowly work your way up the horse. Some horses like to swim in the lake or swim on the beach.
Sun and UV protection masks: Not only humans can get sunburn. Horses with particularly light or fluffy fur are also at risk. As a precaution, owners can apply a children’s sensitive sunscreen to the sensitive areas of horses. Blankets and masks also protect animals from sunburn.
How do rabbits behave in the heat?
Unlike horses, rabbits are very sensitive to heat. “In the wild, they never voluntarily deal with heat, but rather stay in their underground burrow in the summer,” explains von Gersdorf. Even at around 25°C it can be dangerous for rabbits.
Overheating in rodents is manifested, for example, in apathy lying on the side and rapid breathing. With such behavior, the rabbit must be taken out directly from the heat. “You can put a cold towel over the animal and let the water run down its mouth,” explains Indra von Giersdorf. And anyway: go to the vet.
How do you protect rabbits from heat?
Stay out of the sun: It doesn’t matter whether the rabbits will be kept outside or inside: in the summer they should be out of the sun. If it is very hot outside, rabbits should be kept indoors, for example in a basement or other cool room.
Snow bags yes, fans no: If the house is also very warm, the cage can be cooled with ice packs, for example. “You can put it on top of the cage or protect it well – so that the rodents don’t gnaw on it – in the cage,” explains Indra von Giersdorf. Wet towels over the cage can make the temperature more bearable for rodents. Fans should be avoided around rabbits. “This is just false cooling and irritates the mucous membranes.”
Wet paws and ears: For cooling, the rabbit’s paws can be sprinkled with water or moistened with a wet towel. The latter is particularly effective at pacifying, as ferrets cool mainly through their long ears.
Control of larval infestation: Not only can heat be dangerous for rabbits in summer. It is often attacked by worms during this time. Von Gersdorf knows that “weak or injured animals are especially vulnerable to it”. Rabbits can die from such an invasion. That is why the expert advises: Check daily if it is possible to see small eggs on the rabbit’s fur – and go directly to the vet if this is the case.
Is heat dangerous for cats?
The cat cannot sweat. When it’s too hot, their body temperature rises and their heart beats faster. According to von Gersdorff, lying on your stomach is also a sign of heat stroke. “It is the duty of humans to realize when a cat is doing poorly. If in doubt, go to the vet.”
What can you do for cats in heat?
cold fur: Although cats are not known to be water lovers, you can wipe them down with a damp cloth when it’s hot. This is how the body temperature cools down. Paws can also be cooled.
Sensitive area cream: Cats can get sunburn. The nose and ears of light-colored cats are particularly at risk. These areas should be decorated with sunscreen for sensitive children on sunny days.
Encourage drinking: As Indra von Giersdorf explains, cats tend to be poor drinkers. But water is especially important on hot days. Owners can help their animals, for example, by wetting the food and feeding more wet food. Ice cubes in a bowl of water can also be fun for your cat.