Ah glorious sunshine! While we’re all stripping off and pouring a Pimms, spare a thought for our pets this summer. TV Vet, Joe Inglis talks to StyleTails about dangers to look out for in summer, and shares some simple tips to keep pets healthy and happy in the warmer months.
What are the key things owners should be aware of in the summer months?
The main things that pet owners need to be aware of are the risks of heatstroke and sunburn. Every year vets across the country see tragic cases of pets who have overheated as a result of being left in enclosed places like cars so it is really important that owners are fully aware of the risks and how to prevent these problems.
We’re all hoping for a heat wave this summer but what dangers does the heat pose to pets?
Dogs (and cats) can easily overheat and suffer from hyperthermia in hot weather. The sun can also be dangerous to pets as well as people. Pets with white skin, especially on their ears, are particularly prone to sunburn and even skin cancer so use a high-factor sun block on any white areas of skin that don’t have much fur cover.
How can owners help keep pets cool in the hot weather?
Make sure they always have access to shade, fresh water and plenty of fresh air. However do also be aware of the risks that water can pose itself. Dogs in particular often enjoy playing in the sea, rivers or lakes, there can be hazards such as dangerous currents, hidden obstacles and even toxic blue-green algae in stagnant water, so make sure you check out any water before letting the dog plunge in.
Can dogs and cats get easily dehydrated in the summer and how can owners prevent it?
Yes very easily as dogs and cats lose large quantities of water as they cool themselves evaporating water to keep their temperatures at safe levels. Make sure they always have plenty of cool fresh water available at all times.
How can owners encourage pets to drink on a hot day?
Make sure the water is palatable. Some pets, cats in particular, don’t like the taste of the chlorine in tap water so it’s worth offering bottled water or even collected rainwater if your pet doesn’t seem to be drinking much.
Should owners change their grooming routine in the summer?
For long haired cats and dogs it’s a good idea to consider a haircut to help keep them cool.
Should owners look at changing their pet’s diets in the warmer months?
There is no real need to change the diet as their nutritional requirements are not going to significantly change unless they are much more or less active than at other times of the year. However it is worth being aware of the effects of heat on their food, particularly wet food which can quickly deteriorate and go off if left out in hot weather. Feed smaller portions and keep the unused open food cool between feeds to help prevent problems.
With dogs frolicking through long grass in the summer, fleas and ticks can rear their ugly heads – how can owners prevent them?
The best way to prevent parasitic infestations including ticks and fleas is to protect your pets with a good quality, effective anti-parasite preparation such as Frontline Spot On. It’s also worth trying to avoid areas with known tick problems which tend to be fields or meadows with long grass.
How can owners recognise a flea or tick on their dog?
Fleas are small brown insects about a couple of millimetres long. They are very fast moving and can be hard to spot unless your pet has a major infestation. It is often easier to see their waste which looks like tiny black specs in the fur. Check near the base of the tail as that is the most common site for fleas, and to confirm if any black specs are flea dirt, dab them onto damp cotton wool and flea waste will stain red (as it contains blood).
Ticks vary a lot in appearance, starting off as tiny creatures not much bigger than a flea, but then growing rapidly over several days as they feed on their host’s blood. A full tick can easily be confused with a skin tag or other lump, but if you look closely you should be able to spot their tiny head parts attached to the skin underneath the bulbous greeny-brown body.
Is it safe to remove a tick yourself?
You can remove ticks using a special tick hook, but there is the risk of leaving the head parts in the skin and causing an infection. Regular application of a protective insecticide such as Frontline Spot On is the best approach, and if you see a live tick or flea, a new application should cause them to drop off within 24 hours.
Its important to look after your pet’s health to ensure you can enjoy the summer months together! You can extend your summer and be in with a chance of winning a UK pet friendly holiday by entering a competition to find the UK’s Most Dedicated Pet Owner with Frontline Spot On www.facebook.com/FrontlineSpotOn