Care and advice for your pets this Summer
Keep up with Preventative Treatments
Pests will be pervasive this spring and summer, thanks to unusually warm winter months. Avoid the temptation to slack off on meds that help your pet fight fleas, ticks and heartworm, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. For dogs, pests to be aware of are fleas, heartworm and intestinal parasites. For cats, its fleas, ear mites, heartworm, hookworm and roundworm. Set a date on your calendar -- or smartphone -- to administer the treatments without fail.
Watch for Allergic Reactions
Cats and dogs can suffer allergic reactions to pollen, so watch for signs such as excessive chewing, scratching and sneezing. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pets, keep them inside when the weather forecast predicts a high pollen count. Oatmeal shampoo also helps relieve itchy skin for cats and dogs. Let the grooming season begin!
Pets and Pools
If you’re fortunate to have a swimming pool, summer is a great time for taking a refreshing dip and sometimes our pets will join us for the plunge. But just like small children, animals need to be supervised. While many people believe dogs are natural swimmers, this isn’t necessarily true for all breeds. For example, French bulldogs and pugs are notoriously poor swimmers when it comes to wading in water. Other dog breeds with shorter legs like dachshunds, corgis and some terriers also don’t fare well in the water. Most cats won’t voluntarily jump into water but they certainly can fall into a swimming pool accidentally and whilst they are naturally good swimmers they may struggle to climb out of a pool if its sides are steep or have an overhanging ledge. Because of this, we recommend covering your pool when it is not in use. If your pet has had a dip, be sure to wash and dry them off, giving special attention to their ears to prevent infection.
Keep Pets Cool
Make sure dogs can access plenty of fresh water and shade. Heatstroke can affect dogs quickly, particularly if they have dark, thick coats. Heatstroke can be lethal for dogs as they can’t sweat to cool down like we can. They mainly cool themselves down by panting, this works by water evaporating from their tongue, which carries excess heat away from their body. Problems occur when the dog becomes dehydrated, as panting uses up a lot of water, so it’s essential that your dog always has a plentiful water supply nearby. This is especially important for older dogs as they can have underlying health conditions and their kidneys may not be as efficient as younger dogs at conserving water. It’s also very important for short-nosed breeds, heavyset breeds or overweight dogs who can have difficulty cooling down due to narrowed airways.
The symptoms of heat stroke are as follows:
• Lethargy and lack of coordination
• Very red gums
• Excessive drooling
• Laboured breathing or rapid panting
• Vomiting and diarrhoea
• A seizure – in some cases
If you spot any of these symptoms, you will need to spring into action quickly:
• Move your dog out of the heat and splash cool water over them (don’t use cold water as this will make their temperature go down too quickly)
• Then gently fan them and give them small sips of water to drink
• Phone your vet to let them know you’ll be coming in and take your dog to the vets as soon as possible.
Top tips to keep your dog cool
• Go out for a walk with your dog early in the morning or in the evening, avoiding the hottest part of the day between 11am – 3pm, if the pavement is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for their paws.
• If your dog is a bit of a sunbather, encourage them to sit in a shady spot, rather than in direct sunlight. When it’s really hot, keep your dog indoors with a fan on and although it may be very tempting for them, keep them away from sitting in direct sunlight by a window.
• If your dog has a thick or long coat and suffers from the heat, make sure they are groomed regularly to remove dead hair and allow good air flow. Don’t be tempted to shave their coats completely as this exposes the skin to sunburn and in some cases can actually reduce a dog’s ability to keep cool, If your dog has any exposed skin and is light coloured, buy some non-toxic, pet safe sun cream to put on.
Cats are known for being big on sunbathing in the garden, or in a pool of sunshine coming through the window indoors. But through doing this they can make themselves susceptible to heatstroke and dehydration. If they come in from their session of sunbathing and seem a bit listless or lethargic, they may have heatstroke – make sure to try and encourage them to drink some water and get in touch with your vet as soon as possible.
To avoid your cat getting dehydrated, ensure they have access to water at all times and make sure to keep their water bowl topped up throughout the day. Some cats enjoy moving water more than still, so consider getting a cat water fountain to encourage them to drink. You can also try coaxing them into the shade, to help keep them cool.
The symptoms of heat stroke are as follows:
• Dry gums
• Fast Heart rate
• Disorientation and confusion
If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms, make sure to get in contact with your vet for advice on how to proceed.
If for any reason you have to take your cat in the car, don’t ever leave it by itself, not even for a few minutes or if it’s in the shade. This can kill a cat in a very short amount of time.