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Summertime Safety Tips For Your Pets

The sunshine makes us all feel better but when the heat rises and we all spend more time outside, we need to pay special care and attention to our pets.

Keep your furry friends safe and happy by following this advice

Look Out For Insect Bites and Stings

Wasps and bees can be inviting for a curious cat or dog to play with, hence stings are quite common.  If your pet displays symptoms of discomfort such as a swelling, limping or drooling, it’s worth checking them over for signs of a sting.

Some cats and dogs can be allergic to bee or wasp stings, just like we can. If your pet has an allergic reaction, they can have more severe symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash or swelling
  • Collapse.

If your pet has an allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting, it’s vital you get them to your vet as soon as possible.

If your pet is showing signs of swelling around the mouth or throat area, don’t try to treat this at home. Go and see your vet immediately.

If the sting is anywhere else, follow this advice:

Bee Stings – The sting will usually be visible and needs to be removed with tweezers.  The area can then be treated with a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water, which neutralises the sting.  A covered ice pack can also be used to soothe the area.

Wasp Stings  – There will be no visible sting and may be more than one area affected.  The areas should be treated with vinegar, which neutralises the sting.  A covered ice pack will help to provide relief.

Exercise Your Dog At Cooler Times Of The Day

First thing in the morning or in the evening are the best times to exercise your dog when the weather is hot.  Carry out the ‘5 Second Test’ to determine whether the pavement is likely to damage your dogs paws.  If it’s too warm to comfortably keep your hand on the ground for 5 seconds, it’s too hot to walk your dog on that surface.

Damage to dogs’ pads on their paws can be very uncomfortable.  Look out for the following signs and contact your vet for advice if you are concerned:

  • limping or refusing to walk
  • licking or chewing at the feet
  • pads darker in colour
  • missing part of pad
  • blisters or redness

NEVER, EVER Leave Your Dog In The Car On A Hot Day

This goes for any pet and for any enclosed space such as a conservatory, garage, shed or caravan.   The heat can intensify considerably in such places and leaving a window open provides little relief.  The RSPCA recommendation is that if you see a dog alone in a car on a hot day, showing signs of distress, you should call 999.

Always check greenhouses, sheds and garages before locking up.  Cats can easily become trapped and without access to water, can become dangerously dehydrated.

Consider A Visit The Dog Groomer

A trim can make a huge difference to your dogs’ comfort in the hot weather, especially if they have thick fur.  Grooming is also useful to prevent allergic reactions, as irritants like pollen are less likely to get caught in fur.

Groom cats, rabbits and guinea pigs regularly too.  This is a great opportunity to bond with your pet, check for ticks, look for evidence of flystrike* as well as removing loose hair which can only help in hot weather.

Provide Areas Of Shade

In warm weather your pet needs constant access to a shady area.   Make sure rabbit and guinea pig runs have some areas of shade all day and that dogs have a place where they can escape the suns’ rays.

Supply Fresh Cool Water

It’s important that pets have constant access to fresh water. The RSPCA advises that ice cubes can be added to bowls of water.  Don’t forget to take water with you when walking your dog

Freeze Treats

Freezing treats or your dogs’ kong toy is a great way to help your furry friend cool off on a hot day.

Try A Paddling Pool or A Sprinkler

Some dogs love nothing more than jumping into a paddling pool and having a good splash around and drink!  For those that are less keen, a sprinkler can provide some fun and relief on a hot day.

Use A Pet Friendly Sun Cream

Tips of the ears and noses are areas most prone to sun burn which can lead to more serious conditions like skin cancer.  Using a sun cream designed for animals can help to prevent this occurring.  Contact your vet for details.

Provide A Cooling Mat or A Damp Towel

A cooling mat, a damp towel or a freezer block wrapped in a towel can provide a welcome cool spot for all your pets including rabbits and guinea pigs.

I Think My Pet Has Heatstroke, What Do I Do?

Heatstroke can be fatal so it’s important to take it seriously and look out for signs such as:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • A state of collapse
  • Vomiting

If you think your pet is suffering heatstroke, immediately move them to a shady area and douse them with cool (but not cold) water or use a cool, damp towel to help reduce body temperature.  If you have one, using a fan can also help.  Then, contact your vet for further advice.

* https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/flystrike

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