Preparing for Summer: An Interview with Ferne’s Animal Care Manager

Jul 9, 2024

Summer is approaching and we’re looking forward to the longer days and nicer weather. However, with the weather changing so does your animals needs. We interviewed our Animal Care Manager for some tips of things to consider for the health and comfort of our pets and the animals who call Ferne home. 

What temperature do we need to start worrying about pets?

As we move into Summer, it is important to consider the health and comfort of our pets when the temperature starts to get up to and over 20°C.  There are ways we can adjust how we look after our animals when it gets warmer, from getting out for your dog walks either early in the morning or later in the evening, or on very hot days we would advise to even skip a walk entirely and play some scent games in the house instead.


What are some warning signs to look out for in different animals?

There are many signs that an animal is suffering with heat stress from panting, increased respiratory rate, drooling, pacing, lethargy or vomiting. It is imperative that the animal’s core body temperature is reduced, heat stress can escalate quickly and be fatal. Using cool or tepid water on their skin and fur or switching a fan on will be a big help, lay them on a cold surface and offer them a drink of water. If your pet is displaying any heat stress symptoms, we advise you to contact your vet as soon as possible


What can we do to help keep pets cool? 

There are now many products available to help cool animals during hot weather. These include cooling mats, bandannas and cooling jackets. Paddling pools can make a fun addition to the garden for those who enjoy a little splash around or paddle.

For our smaller furry friends, here at the Sanctuary we have a supply of frozen water bottles that we wrap in a towel. Our guinea pigs and rabbits sit next to these in their runs or sheds. The opposite of a hot water bottle – they love it!

We also create a selection of frozen treats specific to the species. We offer these in small quantities so not to upset anyone’s stomach with sudden dietary changes. All of our animals still get outside time but always in shady spaces and are supervised and monitored for any signs of distress. Additionally, it is essential that animals have a supply of clean, fresh water at all times.


If we can’t walk our dog (s) – what can we do to make sure they get enough exercise/stimulation?

Interactive and engaging enrichment activities at home whilst it’s hot outside could include making a trail of your dog’s favourite treats by hiding them around the house. Your pup will need to use their incredible nose to search for the ‘treasure’. We’d advise to utilise puzzle feeders and snuffle mats.

For something easy to create at-home, a simple cardboard box filled with a selection of treats will give your dog an engaging activity that will take some time and use their senses to solve a problem.  Alternatively, you can put their favourite toys hidden in rolled up towels. We also need to encourage our animals to rest and relax during hot spells, to ensure they have periods to cool off.


Is there anything we can do to help wild animals?

We can best support wildlife by putting out a water supply on the ground for smaller wildlife, or in a bird bath for our feathered friends. If you are going to do this, ensure you can commit to keep doing it so that animals have a reliable water source.


 What should we do if we see an animal/pet that isn’t ours in distress?

If we see an animal that is not ours who is distressed contact an organisation such as the RSPCA or even the police before you attempt anything that might cause injury to yourself, the animal or damage someone’s property.


With these insights from our dedicated animal care manager, we hope you can ensure a safe, enjoyable, and memorable summer for both you and your furry friends.