We all love summer time and pets are no different, but with temperatures soaring, mercury rising and the sun beating down, our four-legged pets, feathered friends and even fish need careful consideration. Put yourself in their paws – imagine how hot you’d feel if you wore a fur coat on a baking hot day.
In collaboration with PDSA, we've come up with some top tips for summer:
Never leave pets in cars. Not just for a few minutes, even with windows open. You may be delayed. Temperatures can soar in minutes. If they get dangerously high, they can kill your pet with heatstroke. Be aware that some ferry companies will insist your dog remains in the car during your sailing. If this is the case, is it in your dogs best interests to join you on holiday?
Don’t let pets sit out for a long time in strong sun, or leave hutches, runs or cages in direct sunlight. Make sure they can always access shade and plenty of fresh, cool water.
Take care putting your bird cage close to the window or in direct sunlight – the temperature can quickly soar. Birds require plenty of shade and air flow to stay cool.
Give pets plenty of clean, fresh water at all times. Change water regularly in the day. Carry a bottle of water for your pet with you on walks and offer regular stops.
Know the signs of heatstroke – excessive panting, extreme salivation, distress and collapse. If this happens, call your vet for advice as soon as possible.
Consider trimming of clipping long-haired pets to help them stay cool. Everyone loves a new haircut!
Walk dogs in the morning or evening – before 8am and after 5pm is best. This stops them overheating in the midday sun. It also stops hot road surfaces, pavements and sand from burning paws. You can test pavement temperature by placing the back of your hand on the surface. If it is too hot to comfortably leave your hand there, the surface is too hot for your pet's paws.
Check your rabbit's underside and bottom regularly. In the summer, rabbits are prone to maggot infestations, called flystrike. Flies are attracted to dirty fur and lay their eggs, which hatch into maggots. Check your rabbit’s bottom at least twice a day: if it’s dirty, clean it gently with a damp cloth. If you spot any maggots call your vet as soon as you can.
Discard any leftover food as it can go off very quickly in the heat and attract flies.
Cool your small furry pets down with ice. Freeze a nearly full plastic bottle of water. Then take it out, wrap it in a towel and lie it on its side outside your pet’s cage, but next to their sleeping area. Rabbits and guinea pigs especially love these 'cool bottles'.
Add ice cubes to your pet's water on hot days, or freeze a liquid they love into ice cubes treats - tuna water works well for cats, wet dog food can be used for dogs.
Take extra care if transporting pets in hot weather. Keep windows open when your car is moving. Never let a dog put their head out of your car window. Travel during the coolest times of the day. Never leave your pets in a parked car.
Check your fishponds and aquaria. Ensure they have a shaded area as they can get very hot in the summer.
Have a great summer & remember, if you have any concerns about your pet's health or well-being you should contact your vet for advice. Our vets are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01304 206 989.