With summer in full swing most of us are spending more time outdoors enjoying the warm weather. Your pets will hopefully be enjoying the weather too but there are a few things you can do to ensure they stay comfortable and safe in the summer months.
To help keep your pet cool
- Provide fresh water at all times. It is really important to check water bowls and bottles frequently and freshen the water as necessary. If you are taking your dog out in hot weather it is a good idea to take water and a bowl with you
- Provide access to a shaded area and make sure your pet can get out of the sun if he or she wants too
- Move cages and runs away from windows and/or direct sunlight
- Place a wet towel on the ground for them to lie on if there are no cool tiles available
- Use a fan but make sure your pet can get out of the air flow and can’t chew the cable
- Exercise dogs early in the morning and late in the evening when it is slightly cooler
- Pets with white ears and pink noses can suffer with sunburn so apply a pet sun block to these areas
- Avoid long journeys in cars if possible and definitely do not leave your pet in a parked car (see our heatstroke article)
- Some dogs like to play in paddling pools, but they should always be supervised
Barbecues are on the agenda for a lot of households, but while they are fin for us they are a scavenging hazard for pets! In the summer months veterinary practices often see a lot of pets with tummy upsets or burns after scavenging food, as well as pets that need operations to remove things like corn cobs, bones and wooden meat skewers that have been eaten and got stuck in the stomach or intestines.
If you have a nervous pet who becomes distressed when you have lots of visitors, make sure he or she has a room they can retreat to where they will be undisturbed.
Flystrike is another summer problem; it occurs when a fly lays its eggs on an animal and the maggots that hatch eat the flesh of the animal. Flystrike mainly affects rabbits, but other pets can and do get affected too. The flies are attracted to soiled bottoms, poo and wounds, so make sure you check your pet daily and keep hutches, cages and bottoms clean. Flystrike is a veterinary emergency, so if you suspect your pet has flystrike contact your vet quickly.
Grass Seeds and Plant Awns can be a real nuisance at this time of year and we see a lot of patients (particularly dogs), with grass seeds and plant awns embedded in various parts of their bodies. Check your pet’s coat daily and remove any seeds or awns that you find. (You can read more in our Grass Seed article
Holidays and Pets
With the summer holidays upon us once again, you may already have your holiday arranged, but are your pets ready for that “restful” break you are planning? We all love our holidays because they are a break from our normal daily routines, but it can be a very stressful time for our pets who may find a change to their normal routine very unsettling and this may present itself as behavioural changes and a loss of appetite.
Your pet will deal with their change in routine far better if they are fit and healthy. A veterinary check beforehand can be helpful in spotting any problems that may arise whilst you are away, it is also a great idea to let your veterinary practice know that you will be on holiday in case they need to see your pet in your absence or discuss your pets clinical notes with another vet. If your pet needs to take regular medication you will need to make sure that you have enough to last.
Kennels and Catteries
If your pet will be staying at a kennel or cattery, make sure that you arrange to visit it beforehand; You should be able to inspect it for cleanliness and see how happy the other boarders are. You will also be able to discuss the individual care your pet will receive and what their daily routine will be.
Many pets don’t mind going into kennels and there has been recent research that suggests some dogs find it really exciting. Some pets, however, really do not like the extreme change and sometimes noisy environment of a boarding kennel or cattery and can be very distressed by the whole experience. Before you leave, make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date as they will not be allowed to stay in kennels if they are not, it is also a good idea to treat your pet for fleas before they go in to kennels.
Some pets cope much better if they are looked after in their home environment and many companies now offer pet sitting services. Someone will either pop in to see your pet once or twice daily or move into your home until you get back to provide 24 hour care. these services are becoming more and more popular with pet owners and are a great alternative to the stressful kennel environment.
Another option for dogs is that they go and stay in someone’s home until you get back from your holiday. After a chat with you about your dog’s requirements and favourite things a host or carer takes your dog into their home for the duration of your holiday.
Whichever type of care your choose for your pet, make sure that you let your veterinary practice know how long you will be away for and that you give permission for someone else to authorise treatment for your pet in case they cannot get hold of you in an emergency.
Taking your pet with you
If you are lucky enough to be taking your pet on holiday, remember to take food, toys, bedding and insurance details with you. Ensure your dog or cat is wearing an id tag with your contact details on it at all times, in case he or she gets lost,(or update your pet’s id chip details to your holiday address and contact number. It is also a very good idea to know where the local veterinary practice is and their phone number in case of emergencies.
Dog owners should make sure that they know of any local rules and regulations regarding where and how dogs can be walked – this is especially important on beaches and protected areas.
Remember not to leave your pet alone in a caravan, especially on a hot and sunny day as they will get far too hot.
For more advice or an appointment please contact Castle Vets on 0118 9574488 or visit our website