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Heat wave and heat wave: dog, cat, chicken, cow… How to protect animals?

Animals also suffer from the heat. Here’s how to protect them. (©ML /

Temperatures are coming burning this week. We are talking about more than 30 degrees in Rennes, and in the North, 40 in Nantes, and in Toulouse… All of France is concerned.

And if humans are likely to sweat a lot, there is no doubt that animals will also be very hot.

But where a human can eat ice cream, or take a splash in a swimming pool when it’s too hot, how to refresh his dog, his cat, his rabbit, his bird, his hen, his cows or even his turtle?

What are the warning signs?

What you need to know is that apart from horses, very few animals sweat. Thus, the heat can be very difficult for dogs, for example, especially when they are very young or very old.

To cool off, animals have a rudimentary system: they breathe harder, to force blood circulation. “A kind of jerky panting”, indicates Estelle Prietz, veterinarian in the Var, contacted by

It is the first sign which shows that a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a cow, and many other animals are hot. A bird will also have its beak open, but it will also have ruffled feathers.

And it doesn’t stop there. In case of real heatstroke – “ which can be deadlyyesterday I had a dog in consultation who died of it”, specifies the veterinarian – the animal can suffer from diarrhea, even turn blue.

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“If this is the case, no question to ask, it is urgent,” she explains. But then, how to anticipate and help your animal to cool off ?

First reflex: keep the animal cool

It may seem logical, but the first thing to do is to allow the animal to move to a cool place.

Out of the question to leave your animal outside, or in a car for example. You have to let it in so that it settles on the tiled floor, for example.

Estelle PrietzVeterinarian in the Var

Regarding farm animals, if it is really too hot, it is recommended to leave them cool in their stableeven if the conditions in a large field and in a garden are not the same: more wind and, in general, a lot of shade.

“Especially since large animals know how to regulate their temperature better. Perhaps, however, a horse will need more showers than usual”, notes the veterinarian.

And for the hens, “in most henhouses, it is excessively hot. You have to make sure that there is a shady spot in the open air,” says Estelle Prietz.

Wet it if necessary

If it’s too hot, even inside, then don’t hesitate to wet the animal. But not anyhow.

Unless he’s really in danger, we don’t force him to bathe. This could create stress and make the situation worse. Instead, wet a glove or towel and stroke the animal with it.

Estelle PrietzVeterinarian in the Var

But be careful: with lukewarm water, otherwise there could be a shock and the situation could get worse. “That’s why we don’t recommend wetting them with a garden hose,” says the veterinarian.

No effort and morning or late walks

Another important thing for your pet when it’s too hot : it must be taken out either early in the morning or late in the evening.

During the day, the temperatures are too high and the asphalt on which your dog will walk is probably too hot for his fragile pads. “I often get dogs with the undersides of their paws burned,” remarks Estelle Prietz.

Ditto, there is no question of going for a hike with your dog in hot weather, or “you could finish the walk carrying your dog”.

Adapt food

Once again, for cows and other farm animals, there is really no reason to change habits. On the other hand, for the little ones, you have to adapt, especially in terms of food.

“If the heat episode lasts a long time, the animals will eat less. Do not hesitate to wet their croquettes a little or change to mash »continues Estelle Prietz.

As it is impossible to force an animal to drink, basically, we hydrate it without it realizing it.

Nevertheless, the animal, whatever it is, must have water available at all times.

In case of heat stroke, obligatory visit to the vet

If your furry or feathered companion has a heat stroke, cooling it can help, but it won’t be enough.

It’s necessary Definitely take him to the vet. This can treat any complications such as cerebral oedema, heart problems, kidney failure, etc.

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