Six top tips for happy pets this summer.
31st July 2018
1. Safe sun-time.
Ever found your cat or dog lying in different windows throughout the day, following the sun as it moves around the house? If so you've likely got yourself a sun-worshipper! If they like to partake in this pastime please ensure they are able to move themselves away from the direct sun. Whilst a sunny conservatory might be their idea of lazy heaven, they must never be closed in any area where they can't escape the heat. Cats and dogs can quickly overheat and it's not uncommon for us to see heatstroke patients at our surgery, a condition that is distressing and can be fatal. Fresh, cool (but not ice cold) water should be available at all times also. Likewise if you have a suntrap of a garden it is important to ensure that any pet spending time out there can find shade readily. Often the house is the coolest place to be, so never block access. Pet safe sunscreen is also a good idea, especially for the ear flaps, nose and tummy areas on short haired pets.
2. Time for treats.
We all love to treat our pets and the summertime presents us with an excellent opportunity to get creative in this department. A Kong toy stuffed with wet food out of your pet’s daily allowance and then frozen is one example of a treat that will keep your canine happy and cool. We have seen people getting even more adventurous and freezing whole treats and toys in large bowls of water. Only as the ice slowly melts in the sun or as it is licked by the dog or cat will the treats and their favourite play things become available to them. This one will keep them interested for hours.
3. When walkies work best.
There’s nothing better than the joys of walking your canine companion when the sun is shining and skies are blue. ‘Avoid walking your dog in hot temperatures’ seems like obvious advice, however there are still some who get caught out. If embarking upon a long walk on a seemingly cool day it is important to check the weather forecast. You need to know that you’re not going to be caught out with burning hot temperatures mid walk, when there’s little you can do about it. Think of going outside barefoot, in a jumper when the sun is strong – not nice! Always stick to walking your dogs early morning and late evening – when the day is cooler.
Whilst it's tough for us too at least people have decent cooling mechanisms such as sweating to aid them in warm weather. Dogs only have panting to rely on which isn't nearly as effective and it isn’t unusual to see dogs caught out in this way, admitted exhausted and with heatstroke.
Bodies of water can be tempting for any dog on long walks too, and they can be so refreshing. Just ensure that the water is safe for your dog to enjoy. Fast running rivers for example are not a sensible place to take a dip and neither is the sea in areas where there is a strong undercurrent. Lakes tend to be a slightly better bet, if there are no boats around to pose danger to your pooch. Other things to be aware of around water are that if your pet overdoes it, exhaustion and water inhalation can be a real threat of drowning. In still bodies of water there is also the danger of blue-green algae, which if ingested can cause liver failure in dogs. The rule is always check before they enter any water – it’s best to be safe.
4. Take your dog on holibobs.
When holidaying in the UK (or indeed abroad with appropriate documentation) why not seek accommodation that welcomes guests of the four legged variety also? Brand new sights, sounds and smells will delight your dog’s senses and joining in on the family holiday will really make them feel part of the gang.
5. Travel in comfort.
If you're taking your dog out in the car this summer, or transporting other pets such as cats to the vets make sure you do so whilst keeping the summer heat in the back of your mind. The slogan ‘dogs die in hot cars’ can also apply to vehicles in motion. Pets must always be restrained for the safety of you, them and other road users but it's always worth sparing a thought for their comfort as well. You'd be surprised at the varying microclimates that can occur within a relatively small space such as the car: one study showed that the temperature can vary as much as eight degrees Celsius from one end of the car to the other. Even with air con and windows down, keeping pets in the boot of a car can be particularly problematic in this sense. The back seats prevent air flowing effectively into the boot space, whilst the usually enclosed rear windscreen can act like a greenhouse when the sun shines upon it. Whilst the driver might be enjoying a fresh blast as the air circulates much of the car, it doesn't mean that your pet is feeling quite as cool.
6. Lastly, have fun!
The longer days fill us all with more energy and we tend to take time away from our busy schedules to spend quality moments with the family, and that includes the pets. So make sure that you make the most of this time, why not discover new places with your dog, teach your cat new tricks, or simply enjoy more time in their company? We're sure that they will have a blast too.