Summer safety tips for pets
After a long cold winter, everyone looks forward to a summer heat wave. As you prepare for family BBQs, trips to the beach and holidays abroad it’s important to remember to look after your pets as carefully as you would any other member of the family.
Read on for a selection of summer safety tips designed to help you protect your pet pals in hot weather.
Around the home
When your family routine stays the same, it can be easy to overlook the impact of a heat wave on your pet. During the summer, always remember to provide a shady space for your pet, away from direct sunlight. Make sure he or she has plenty of fresh cold water that they can access at all times and change your pet’s food more regularly as excessive heat can increase the presence of flies.
For smaller pets like guinea pigs and rabbits, keep any long hair trimmed and watch out for maggot infestation in the summer. Dirty fur is an invitation to flies which lay their eggs – with potentially fatal consequences. Check regularly around your pet’s hindquarters, keeping them clean with a damp cloth and contact a vet if you have any concerns.
Whilst it is also advisable to walk dogs in the cooler parts of the day (before 8am and after 5pm) to avoid burnt paws and dehydration, you should also remain attentive to the signs of heatstroke in the home.
Dogs simply playing in the bright sunshine in the garden for as little as an hour can cause them to become overheated. Have towels on hand which can be soaked in water and used to cool your dog down if he becomes distressed.
If you have parties or BBQs, discourage guests from sharing their scraps as it can cause your pet to develop an upset stomach. Also be sure to keep pets well away from the BBQ, embers and lighter fuel by confining them to a well shaded run or pen during the festivities.
On the move
If you plan to take your pup on a day trip to the beach, always remember to take special precautions in the car by installing a correctly fitted seat belt harness or a pet carrier. As animals can become distressed on long car journeys, do everything you can to familiarise your pet with your vehicle allowing supervised access in advance of your departure date.
To prevent sunburn, apply sunscreen to your pet’s ears, nose and belly and areas with thinner skin. As pets often lick off lotions, sprays and creams, always consult with your vet to make sure you use non-toxic creams.
Take dogs for a long walk before the trip to help them expend their excess energy, make regular bathroom and fresh water breaks and never ever let your dog put his head out of the car window. Not only could they be injured by another vehicle or fall out, but they could suffer injury from small stones kicked up from the road.
Finally, never leave your pet in an unattended car even with the window open. Temperatures can soar in minutes with fatal consequences.