Summer hazards for pets

Published on: 03 Aug 2013

sophie hemmings

With the promise (or hope!) of summer just around the corner, many of us are keen to make the most of some sunshine by catching some rays and dusting off the BBQ while we have the opportunity. For our four legged friends there are many hazards to be aware of to ensure that they stay safe during the hot months. 

Although most animals are protected from the sun by their hairy coat, pets can be at risk of sunburn, especially if they have sparse hair or are pale coloured. Ear tips can be at particularly high risk of burning, and can lead to some serious skin problems. Pet - friendly sun cream is readily available at most pet shops and should be applied to areas at risk of sun damage. 

Heat stroke is a common reason for an emergency visit to the vet clinic during the summer months. To prevent this life threatening condition, avoid excessive physical activity during the very hot hours of the day by exercising your dog in the morning and early evening hours.  

Never leave your pet unattended in the car. In the summer, the temperature in a car can rise very rapidly in a matter of minutes, even if a window is left open. It can lead to heat stroke or even death. 

Make sure that your pet isn’t left for long periods in direct sunlight and that they have access to a shaded area to stay cool.  Dehydration is a common problem at this time of year, especially in older pets with health or mobility concerns.   Pets should have easy access to a supply of fresh water – check that rabbits and guinea pigs have a shaded area in their run and that water bottles area working properly. 

During the warm summer months, many of us will head to the beach or riverbank.  Being by the water can be a great place to enjoy the weather, and it can be great fun to take our pets with us. 

Although many dogs love swimming in water, in some areas, the sea and rivers can have strong currents and can be dangerous for dogs of all sizes. If you are taking your dog along with you on a boat trip or any other activity where they might fall into the water, it is advisable to equip him or her with a doggie life jacket.  

Standing water can carry diseases, so dogs should have access to a supply of fresh water to drink from.  If you are taking your dog to rivers and lakes, they should be vaccinated against leptospirosis, which is a bacterial infection that can be passed to humans.  

If you are with your dog are in an area where people are fishing, avoid going to close, as the baits used on the end of lines are often tempting to our dogs as well as to the catch of the day! If your dog does swallow a fish hook, do not pull on the line to remove it, tie the end of it loosely to your dog’s collar and contact Avenue Veterinary Centre as straight away for further advice.

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