Summer with Pets
As summer rears it's hot and humid head, there are a few important things to remember when looking after your pets! The heat, rain, and creepy crawlies make life interesting for us, but keep this information in mind so you don't end up with a stressful summer at the veterinary hospital.
Flea and Tick Prevention
It’s very important to apply prevention for fleas and ticks, especially in these warmer months, and after rain. Fleas can cause anaemia, severe itching, and secondary skin infections. Ticks - and especially paralysis ticks - can be extremely dangerous to animals. More information on their prevention and care can be found here.
Heat stress and heat stroke occur when a dog or cat is unable to maintain their body temperature through natural body mechanisms.
Signs of heat stress can be any of: rapid panting, bright red tongue, red or pale gums, thick sticky saliva, weakness, dizziness, vomiting - sometimes with blood, and in the worst cases, even shock and coma.
Who is at risk?
All dogs and cats can be at risk of heat stress, but barchycephalic (smooshed face) breeds, long/thick coated pets, and obese or old pets are especially at high risk of overheating in the summer heat.
Prevention is as simple as using your head. Avoid excessive exercise, especially in the middle of the day - try lighter exercise alternatives, or exercise earlier in the morning/later in the afternoon. Also make sure to give them plenty of shade and access to a light breeze.
Ensure they’re properly hydrated, as they will lose lots of fluid to panting/licking themselves to cool off! While travelling in cars, be sure they’re well ventilated, and NEVER leave your dog in the car on a hot day even if the car is parked in the shade and the windows are down.
In the case that your pet is showing clear signs of heat stress, it’s vital that you remove them from any hot environment. Lower their temperature by wetting them thoroughly with cool (not ice-cold) water. Even if they appear to be recovering, it is important to give them veterinary attention to assess them for dehydration and other issues.
What can the vet do?
The vet will be able to put your pet on an IV drip to replenish lost fluids, and will take blood and urine to test for further problems such as kidney failure, changes in blood pressure, abnormal blood clotting, and electrolyte imbalances.
Footpaths absorb heat like a sponge, and happily give it right to your dog’s paws! When going for walks this summer, take them out later in the evening or earlier in the day, and try to stick to the grass, and shaded areas. Remember: if you can’t keep your hand on the ground for 5 seconds, they can’t keep their paws on it for the whole length of a walk!
What else can I do to prepare them for summer?
Grooming! Take your pets to get groomed at our groomers. Double coated breeds can always do with a de-shed, which not only lightens up their coat, but maintains their outer coat that acts like an insulating layer. Other breeds can benefit from having a tidied up coat, especially if they have matted fur.