Surviving summer with pets

Summer months are a great opportunity to spend more time outdoors with our four-legged friends, either in gardens or local parks.

Warm temperatures and longer days mean that pets generally enjoy being outside more.  However, with warmer weather comes hazards for dogs and cats. During Summer months, it’s important to keep an eye on your pets to ensure they stay cool and safe.

We love nothing more than seeing our pets running around enjoying the long summer days and exploring outside. However, some pets can overheat and like us can even get sunburnt if they spend too much time in the sun.

To help pets stay safe in Summer and ensure we all get to enjoy the warm weather together, we highlight some hazards that owners should be aware of:

Heatstroke

Heatstroke is potentially dangerous for dogs and occurs when your dog cannot lose excess heat causing their body to reach dangerous temperatures. Being in an environment that is too hot or humid can lead to heatstroke, especially if your dog is running or playing. This can include, a hot day, being enclosed in a warm room (conservatories especially become lethally hot rapidly on sunny days) and being left in a car.

Hydration

Hydration is important all year round, but during hot Summer months, make sure your pet has constant access to fresh, clean water. You could add ice cubes to the water to help keep it cool during the day. If your cat spends more time outside, remember to leave a bowl of water outdoors for them, if they are unable to get back inside during the day. Dog hydration drinks can also be used to help top up hydration levels and compliment your pet’s daily water intake.

Fleas and ticks

Fleas are an all-year-round problem, but warmer weather can increase your pet’s chances of coming into contact with fleas, ticks and even worms. Be sure to keep up with your pet’s flea and worm treatment to make sure fleas don’t cause them any irritation.

Ticks are active as temperatures start to rise. Always check your dog for ticks following walks, especially in wooded areas and if your cat spends a lot of their time outside. During summer months, it’s important to check your pets once a day.

Travelling with pets

If you are taking your pet on holiday and travelling by car, make sure you are prepared before you leave. Take plenty of water for your dog and take breaks during the drive for toilet stops and to let your dog stretch. Never leave your dog alone in the car for any length of time, especially in extreme temperatures. Cars get very hot quickly in the sun and this could risk your pet’s health.

Keep pets cool

If it’s too warm for you, it’s too warm for your pet. In the home you could use a fan but be careful to keep wires out of the way, so they don’t get chewed. You could put down damp towels for your pet to lie on or fill a hot water bottle with cold water but be sure to keep an eye on them to prevent chewing.

To keep them cool in the garden, create a shady den to help your pet escape the sun. Make sure they have plenty of fresh water on offer – as well as water to use to cool off. You could use a small paddling pool in your garden to keep your dog cool in high temperatures.

Rabbits and small furries

It’s important to look after smaller pets like rabbits and guinea pigs in high temperatures just as much as dogs and cats. Make sure their hutch and play area are in the shade. For indoor rabbits be sure that their cage is not placed in direct sunlight. Ensure they have plenty of fresh cool water to stay hydrated. You could use a fan for smaller pets but don’t place them directly onto your rabbit and cover any wires in case they get chewed.

Sun protection

Like us, some pets can suffer from sunburn if they spend too much time in the sun. Pets with light skin and short or thin hair, such as white cats are more susceptible to sensitive skin from the sun. Try to limit the amount of time your pet spends in the sun or keep them inside on very sunny days.

You can use pet-friendly sun cream to protect them. Apply to the nose and ears or any areas where the fur is thinner and needs protection. Remember, if your dog goes swimming, to re-apply the cream frequently.

Exercise

Despite high temperatures, it’s still important to ensure your dog gets enough exercise. Be careful not to exhert them if it’s too hot. During particularly hot days avoid the hottest times of the day. Walk your dog in the morning or early evening when it’s cooler. The intense heat of midday can overwhelm your dog.

Pavements can also become extremely hot in high temperatures and if not protected will burn your pet’s paws. The test is, if you can’t hold your hand on the hot pavement for longer than five seconds then it is too hot for your dogs to walk on.

Microchipping

During warmer months with doors and windows left open, make sure your pet’s microchip details are up to date in case they escape and get lost. Microchips make it easier to reunite you with your cat or dog should they get lost. During summer months, gardens can look more inviting for your pet who may sneak out at any opportunity.

If you are worried about your pet’s health in Summer, speak to your vet who is best placed to monitor them.