The heat is on it’s July!
Hooray for warm sunny days (fingers crossed) and barbecues, but as the weather warms up, it’s important to make sure your pets stays safe.
Heat can be a real killer for many pets, so during the summer months it’s a good idea to walk your dog early in the morning before 8am and after 5pm and take water with you. If you have room in your garden, dogs love to cool down in a paddling pool and frozen ice treats always go down well too.
Don’t forget about your rabbits and guinea pigs they are very susceptible to problems arising from excess heat. They cannot pant or sweat to cool themselves down so you should always ensure they have a shaded area and plenty of fresh cool water preferably in a bowl.
Flies are another summer-time hazard unfortunately. They are particularly attracted to rabbits if they have soiled bottoms they will lay their eggs which rapidly hatch out into flesh eating maggots NOT NICE! So it’s important to check your rabbits’ bottoms daily. If you are concerned you should contact your vet immediately.
Ticks are a real problem at this time of year too. Check your dog’s coat daily after walking and use a specially designed v-shaped tick remover to remove the tick. Always rotate in one direction only and ensure the head is not left behind. This can lead to an increased risk of disease transmission. (Video of taking a tick off with a tick remover here - advice varies about whether to twist or not but whatever you do you need to make sure no bits of the jaw are left in).
Factor 50! Cats are natural sunbathers, but for cats with white ear tips and noses they can be prone to sunburn in these places which can lead to cancerous changes over time. High factor sun-block applied to the ‘at-risk’ areas will help to minimise this.
Grass awns of the meadow grasses like we have in this area, can be an issue at this time of year. They are commonly trapped in dogs’ ears and may also become embedded in the feet and other areas. We always recommend inspecting your dog following a walk. You can check for those dreaded ticks at the same time!
Barbecue fever is upon us, but be careful what your dog might try to steal from the left-overs. For instance a corn on the cob husk can cause a severe blockage and you should take care that they don’t steal bones.
Pets left in cars can die. The temperature rises rapidly in a car and so you should NEVER LEAVE A PET UNATTENDED. They can suffer heat stroke and die within minutes.
Taking all of the above into consideration enjoy the summer with your lovely pets.
Keith Moore BVSc MRCVS is a Veterinary Surgeon at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen. For more information visit www.hillsidevets.co.uk.
Note from Dorset Dogs - tick hooking video available here