Summer’s here! So while semi-naked people fill parks across the Capital and and shops sell out of Pimms and ice, make sure your pets are ready to enjoy the warmer months with you.
DEHYDRATION + OVERHEATING
It’s not only us silly people that end up over-heated and dehydrated after enjoying one too many shandies in the sun. “Healthy young adult animals are least vulnerable but if they have no water and are over-heated, they can become critically dehydrated within a few hours or less,” says Zaila Dunbar, Vet of the Year 2012 from Queens Park Vets. “Dehydration can be difficult to detect in some cases but if your dog is panting lots, breathing fast and seems lethargic, it is important to have them checked by a vet” she advises. “Cats hide problems extremely well, so they may just seem quieter or not interested in food. If your cat is panting, that is potentially a sign that they are very unwell so veterinary advice should be sought a matter of urgency,”she warns.
Those of you who own short-nosed dogs like Pugs will know that they can really struggle to cool down on hot days. “They find it harder to breathe effectively and lose excess heat, which is the way a dog loses heat, rather than sweating like humans. Dogs with short noses and long thick coats such as Pekingese have double trouble!” says Zaila.
- A plentiful supply of clean water is vital. Unsurprisingly, animals aren’t so keen on warm, stale water so make sure you keep it fresh.
- “Cats are more fussy about drinking and often prefer water in a wide shallow bowl or running water, so providing water in the form your cat prefers is really important,” says Zaila.
- “Cats can easily get themselves locked in confined spaces like sheds and garages, with no access to water, so be in the look-out for this” she adds.
- In the heat of summer, avoid exercising your dog in the middle of the day as well as ensuring that pets are never confined to a space without shade that is too hot, like a car, which goes without saying.
- “If they enjoy swimming or paddling, this can help them feel cooler, as long as they don’t get too over-excited from doing it” says Zaila.
- Prestige Pets have also come up with an ingenious idea to help your pooch keep cool on hot days. Their Cool-Coats work by slowly drawing heat out through the process of evaporation. They come in five sizes and a range of SS12 pastel shades.
Grooming can also play an important part in keeping your pets cool and avoiding over-heating in the warmer months. Kate Lloyd, owner of Great and Small Bespoke Pet Grooming in Islington stresses that double coated dogs like pomeranians and huskies need extra help with shedding their thick under-coat in summer.”Use a slicker brush with harsher teeth to pull out more of the undercoat until you are able to run a comb through it easily” she says. “A good wash and blow-dry will remove 90% of the undercoat and most longer-coated dogs will also benefit from a shorter clip during summer” she recommends.
FLEAS & TICKS
With pooches tending to frolic around more in longer grass during the summer, ticks, fleas and parasites can also be more of a problem. “After walks, check your dogs under-carraige and between toes” advises Kate. Kate also recommends keeping an eye out for grass-seeds which can be more of a problem in summer. “They can get stuck between the toes and can grow into the foot, causing cause infection and will need to be removed by a vet” she says.
Unlike us humans who can often end up on the wrong side of pink, most pets are fairly well protected form sunburn due to their coats an dark-pigmented skin. “The most at-risk parts of the animal to sunburn are the nose and ears of an animal with white fur, which is usually more relevant to cats. ‘In this case we recommend encouraging them to stay out of direct sunlight at the hottest part of the day and to use a pet sunscreen on these area’s to help protect them” she says.
And finally, to help you enjoy summer in style, the Mini NestRest from luxury outdoor furniture makers Dedon provides shady respite for seriously pampered pets. Designed by Daniel Pouzet and Fred Frety, this mini version of their NestRest looks so relaxing that you might try and squeeze in there yourself. If your pet looks at you with disgust, you can of course splash out on the full size version and dangle next to each other