How to keep your pet cool and safe this summer

Yay ! Summer time is here it’s so lovely and the animals will love it …. wrong ! I mean , Alaskan malamutes can’t exactly strip down into a bikini to cool off can they ?! and have you ever seen a Persian paddle around in a pool sipping a pina colada  ?!   There are dozens of  emergencies we see at this time of  year, many of which can easily be prevented . This article is just giving a heads up to things that can happen to animals during these warmer months and survival tips!

Heat stroke

For those of you that have ever experienced this yourself it’s pretty awful and in severe cases can be fatal. This one is a biggie, we see this an awful lot in practice , usually with dogs.

  • Keep your pet in a shaded cool area – bring small furries inside if it’s cooler
  • dogs can be hosed down with cold water
  • take dogs for a walk at cooler times in the day such as early morning or late evening not at midday when the temperature is at its hottest
  • Don’t be tempted to cover your animal in cold wet towels this can trap the heat under the towel and actually make them worse off . Getting your animal to sit on cold wet towels is a great idea though
  • Make sure your pet has access to plenty of drinking water to keep hydrated. You can even add some ice cubes in their bowls to keep it nice and cool .
  • ice packs can be placed under pet beds but make sure your pet doesn’t chew them. There are fancy ice packs available for pets in shops nowadays too and cooling jackets !
  • Some people freeze treats in ice blocks – tasty cool snacks and entertains them !
  • Children size paddling pools are great for doggies to go for a skinny dip and cool off
  • Short back and sides – get your summer hair cut on !
  • Fans and air con – thumbs up!
  • Brachycephalics – such as pugs, bulldogs, frenchies , Persian cats ,so basically anything with a short muzzle like these breeds will struggle more in warmer weather -they can overheat pretty quickly so it’s really important to keep them cool
  • cats do love to bask in the sun and sunbathe on window sills don’t they ? Keep a close eye on them discourage them from sitting there if getting to hot (some signs include heavier breathing and panting) you could place ice packs in their favourite basking spots to help keep them cool
  • conservatories , greenhouses and cars – don’t cook your pets ! have you tried sitting in these on a hot day ?!
  • Feathery friends can be quite sensitive to heat so make sure you keep them in a cool environment too

 

 

Burnt paws

General rule – if the floor is too hot for you to walk on bare foot then it’s too hot for your pet and severe burns can occur on their tootsies

Sunburn

Yep your pets can get sunburn just like us, especially in white cats and dogs and pinkie coloured noses . You can apply sun cream to prominent pink bits – ear tips are a really common area to get sunkissed. Make sure the sun cream is pet friendly and minimise the time your pet sits in direct sunlight .

Beach walks

Agggh ! the dreaded beach walk …. I can hear the phone’s ringing now with emergency stitch ups , ingested foreign bodies , adder bites and even incidences of drowning.

Unfortunately beaches can be very cluttered with all sorts of rubbish that your dog can injure themselves on and even try to eat.

Fishing hooks are a classic thing for dogs to eat on a beach usually with a  line and stinky rotten fish on the end which is of course a doggie delicacy! Don’t be tempted to pull the fishing  line it can cause serious damage as it could be lodged somewhere in your dogs tummy and if you have to cut the fishing line sticking out from your dog’s mouth just don’t cut it too short because your vet will have even more trouble removing it.

If your pet get’s a cut or graze apply pressure to the wound where active bleeding is occurring and try to clean the wound if possible tap water is fine for this and avoid getting sand in the wound.  Call your vet for further advice , it is likely your dog will require pain relief and antibiotic treatment a funky bandage and sometimes surgery.

If your dog likes to swim be wary of debris under foot and study the local tide times we wouldn’t want your pet to get swept out to sea.

 

Keep your dog on a long lead so you can pull them back to safety and I’m sure there are doggie life jackets available somewhere  on-line !

Long grass on sand dunes are a perfect place for adders to hang out so do be careful if passing through areas like this  , keep your dog on a lead and if your suspect your dog has been bitten call your vet straight away as a special anti venom will need to be given

clifftop walks – Yeah…it seems like a good idea at the time… until dogs fall or take a leap of faith off the edge – please be careful, dogs on leads people and keep safe !

Another thing I’ve seen in practice – a dog ate a tonne of sand on a beach and was severely bloated his tummy looked like a football – so yeah, I wouldn’t advise you letting your dog eat sand after seeing that . He was fine by the way after a lot of pain relief and pooping out a few sand castles !

Fly strike

Ok, so this is one is aimed at the small furries . Fly strike is really common among rabbits , especially ones who still haven’t lost their Christmas weight (a bit podgy!) so basically if the rabbit isn’t able to reach down and keep his /her bum clean because their tummy is in the way this will attract flies and they will lay eggs on the rabbit and these hatch out on the bunny and pretty much eat the rabbit alive sorry if your squeamish .  It really is like something from a horror film when we see them in practice. Sometimes it’s so severe fatalities occur and it’s excruciating for the bunny .

The same process happens with cuts and grazes they may have and if the rabbit is kept in dirty living conditions. It can happen to Guinea pigs too .

Check your small furry at least once a day ,keep them clean and their environment clean too . There are products such as rearguard which can be applied to prevent fly strike.

Fleas and ticks

These blood sucking parasites are rife at this time of year . Not only are they annoying and give us and our pets the itch and want to flame throw the house but diseases can also be transferred to your pet and yourself from these critters. Fleas can spread myxomatosis between rabbits and ticks can transfer lymes disease to dogs and us ! Avoid long grass and use adequate flea and tick prevention advised by your vet.

Oh and if you see a tick on your pet don’t pull it off you can cause more damage as the head of the tick can be left embedded in your pet’s skin causing infections and abscesses gross right?! there’s a special technique and tool used for removing them.  Call your vet – nurses can demonstrate safe removal of them so your prepared for the next sucker !

 

always seek veterinary advice from your own veT
Other than that keep calm and enjoy your summer guys!
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