Summer seems to finally have arrived! And all of a sudden people are smiling, everything looks alot brighter, and we’re all making plans get out and enjoy our surroundings.
But we’re all also more than aware of the risks that come with hot weather, with most of us taking the necessary precautions to avoid painful sunburn, annoying allergies and dreaded heatstroke.
But what about our piping-hot pets? Are we protecting them enough from the dangers of summer so that they can enjoy it too?
White cats (pictured) are at the greatest risk. Due to a lack of protective pigment, they are prone to sunburn which can quickly turn into serious skin cancer – especially on their ear-tips and nose.
It’s up to you to greatly reduce this risk to your sun-worshipping feline, and apply non-toxic sunblock liberally and daily to every sensitive area; and with any sign of skin changes (such as reddening) please contact your vet immediately. I really can’t stress this enough.
All responsible rabbit-owners will have heard of the condition ‘fly-strike’. During the warmer weather the rabbit’s damp bottom will attract flies, usually laying their eggs there.
A few hours later these eggs hatch-out and hey presto – you’ve now got thousands of hungry flesh-eating maggots to deal with!
This is a very serious, preventable, and extremely common condition and every rabbit is at risk, especially obese and older bunnies, and even house rabbits. Fly-strike is usually fatal unless treated immediately.
Please check your rabbit’s rear-end at least twice daily throughout the summer months, and why not attach an old net curtain to the front of your rabbit’s hutch to stop flies getting close enough to your precious bunny to lay those nasty eggs.
If you’ve got a spaniel you’ll know all about the dreaded ‘grass seed’ – seeds of meadow grasses that on closer examination look like small sharp arrow-like structures.
All dogs can be affected by these bad-boys which attach themselves to your dog’s coat – especially onto the soft downy ‘feather’ fur over their toes.
If allowed to progress further, they can burrow their way through the skin between their pads, or even become trapped in their eyelids or ears, the latter indicated by a severe head-shaking and distress.
So when returning home from walks, please inspect your dogs’ coat thoroughly, or better still, prevent this painful (and expensive) problem from happening in the first place, by taking time to carefully clip the fur from around their feet and ears.
Dogs love to cool down in rivers so please make sure their boosters are up to date especially killer leptospirosis which can be transmitted in rat’s urine.
Bees and wasps add to our pets list of potential painful ailments at this time of year. Puppies and kittens, inquisitively exploring their new garden surrounds will often disturb stinging insects – and then usually try to eat them!
Dogs let off the lead and allowed to rummage around in the undergrowth are also at risk from adder snake bites in the summer months.
Affected areas will become swollen and painful very quickly, and your vet should be contacted immediately and treatment administered.
Older dogs and brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs should be walked early in the morning and later at night in summer so as to avoid mid-day high temperatures that could potentially make breathing and tolerating exercise difficult.
Don’t forget roads and pavements can heat up very quickly in this weather too so be aware of your dog’s paws when out walking and see your vet if you observe any signs of pain, redness, or even blistering.
And finally, never leave your dog in a car, even with a window slightly open. Every year I attend dog shows all over the country and there are always a handful of dogs that have been left in cars in car-parks.
Please don’t ever let this happen to your dog and if you see someone else’s dog trapped in a vehicle – please try to contact the owner or police immediately as it doesn’t take long for the inside of a hot car to reach the temperatures of an oven. If the dog inside is obviously in distress then consider safely smashing the window to get the dog out.
Here’s wishing your pets a safe and happy summer!