Avoiding Summer Pet Hazards

by Handy Mag

by Anna Tilley RVN SQP, Ryedale Vets

Summer is on its way and we all love the sunshine. While you are enjoying spending time outside, it is important to think of your pets and how they might be coping with the heat. Here are a few of the main hazards of summer, and some tips on keeping them safe during the season.

Heatstroke: We hear the ‘DO NOT LEAVE DOGS IN HOT CARS’ campaign every year, but unfortunately it still happens. A pet’s body temperature can rise quickly when in a car (even with the windows open) or even just outside in the heat of the day.

Heatstroke can be FATAL. Please remember your pets are wearing a fur coat! Provide shade in the garden, have fresh water available at ALL times, NEVER leave them in a car, even for a short length of time. Avoid walking dogs during the hottest hours (between 10am and 3pm) and do not over exercise them when it is warm. A missed walk will not harm them.

Adders will be out basking in the sun, and inquisitive pets disturbing them can receive a bite. Adders do not produce lethal venom, but can cause a nasty reaction. The area will swell and become painful, and in some cases the dog may have an anaphylactic reaction to the venom, and may suffer breathing difficulties and shock symptoms. Please always call the vet immediately if you suspect an adder bite.

Sunburn: can be a common problem for pets with white extremities. The initial sunburn is sore and painful, but there is a further risk, especially to white eared cats, that the burn may progress to an aggressive form of skin cancer. Use a high factor sun cream on those white ears (and ear tips), noses, and any other delicate areas exposed to the sun.

Hot tarmac: is not as common as in hotter climates, but can still be an issue. Roads and pavements can become hot to the touch, and delicate paws are easily burnt. Avoid tarmac in the hottest hours, and allow your pets to walk on grass verges where possible. Use the 5 second rule; if it is too hot for your hand it is too hot for your pet’s feet!

Flystrike: is commonly seen in rabbits, and caused when flies lay eggs on mucky back ends or open wounds. Maggots hatch out and feed on the flesh of the pet. This can be FATAL. Daily checks are imperative, and back ends must be kept clean and dry. Keeping your rabbit at optimum bodyweight is important so they can keep themselves clean. A preventative treatment is available and easily applied at the beginning of the season. Any stage of flystrike MUST be treated by us immediately.

Fleas & Ticks: Protection against these critters is recommended throughout the year, but especially in the summer. Ticks are rife at the moment, and should be safely removed by using a special hook, with a rotating action. Never pull/burn/douse a tick as the head may be left in!

If in doubt, ALWAYS phone your vet for advice and help. We hope you all enjoy a long, happy and safe summer with your pets.

Keep an eye out for us at the local shows and come and say hi. We always have a welcome bowl of water and a bit of shelter if your dog is with you.

Ryedale Vets

Station Road, Helmsley, YO62 5BZ, Tel: 01439 771166

133 Eastgate, Pickering YO18 7DW, Tel: 01751 472204

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