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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Extreme heat can kill pets, vets warn 

Temperatures reached a scorching 51C in the UAE at the end of last month and pet owners are being advised to look out for their animals.

As temperatures continue to rise across the UAE, pet owners are being advised to look out for their animals in extreme heat.

Temperatures reached a scorching 51C in the UAE at the end of last month, according to the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology, with the feels like temperature hitting 66C.

“It is a big problem because dogs and cats should be kept indoors in this weather and walk only in cooler times of the day,” said Dr Susan Aylott, founder of Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi. “There are boots you can put on dogs so it stops burning. Some cats are used to being in the desert heat but we’re finding there’s a lot more pets that are being abandoned because they’re not used to being outdoors and they can’t survive.”

Abu Dhabi has witnessed hundreds of cats being abandoned on its streets by people leaving the country.

“You will see a lot of street cats trying to get into shops to get in AC because it can overload their hearts and can be fatal,” Dr Aylott added. “We also have a surge in people who leave the country and their cats outside - it’s immoral and unethical.”

She called on the creation of a department dealing with domestic animals.

“Shelters and charities are usually full,” Dr Aylott said. “Street cats are also not sterilised and reproducing so there’s a knock-off effect.”

As with humans, it is key to keep pets hydrated in such hot weather.

“They need to be in shelter, not in locked cars,” Dr Aylott added. “There’s education needed to keep dogs out of hot cars because they can die in a minute.”

Evelyn Priess, executive management member of the Emirates Animal Welfare Society, said some nationalities simply did not care.

“There is no awareness that heat can kill an animal,” she said. “I have a Saluki and they love the sun but I understand the sun can kill him. Some breeds are more likely to withstand the heat than others.”

Snub-nosed dogs, huskys, St Bernards and rottweilers are less capable of surviving in extreme heat.

“Pugs have difficulties breathing so they can’t go out in the summertime and rottweilers can’t manage humidity as it puts a lot of pressure on them,” Ms Priess added.

“Heat can burn their paws and give them a heatstroke, so we have to consider this because animals have added hair on their skin, which makes it even warmer for them.”