Are you prepared for a pet summer? Summer can be fun for you and your pet! But did you know that visits to the vet and pet emergencies increase over the summer months? Here are 5 dangers that you need to be aware of! We've asked Cathy, our Pet Health Consultant for her top 5 pet care tips during the summer months. Hear what she says YOU can do to ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy this summer...
Best pet-care action plan for SUMMER!
1. Heatstroke and respiratory issues
While out walking your animal (or generally in hot weather episodes) watch out for heat issues: your animal cannot sweat like you can - and as result, cannot regulate body temperature very well. Pets, especially dogs, can become very sensitive to heat, very quickly. Those breeds with flat noses such as Pugs and Bulldogs, should be watched extra vigilantly. Those breeds may suffer breathing problems - as panting is an anti-overheating mechanism, which is made more difficult with flat noses.
Cathy says: "Try to walk your pet in twilight hours or very early morning when heat is at it's mildest. Let dogs spend a few minutes outside in hot weather, so that they acclimatise gradually. During the day make sure your pet has access to fresh water. You may even want to freeze an ice pack overnight and leave it in a shady place near their area, in shade, where they can cuddle up to it. Be very aware of the tell tale signs of heat exhaustion: profuse panting, salivation, an anxious expression, staring without seeing, failing to respond to commands, skin that is warm and dry, fever, rapid pulse, fatigue or exhaustion, muscular weakness and physical collapse. If your pet is showing these signs, immerse them in cool water in the bath or swimming pool and call your vet immediately. It goes without saying that leaving any pet in a car, even with the window cracked is NEVER a good idea."
2. Stiffness and movement
Running and playing on the beach or in the garden can be strenuous for your pet. Remember that he is likely to have spent winter months being less active and just like you, your pet could be a little unfit! This means that a sudden increase in activity may lead to injuries, sore muscles or general stiffness and a gradual exercise plan is important.
Cathy says: "Start your summer pet care plan with gentle walks in the mornings, when weather is still cool. Take your pet for short walks, monitoring his behaviour. Some dogs do not signal when they have had enough and will go on past their comfort zone, so rather be on the side of caution and limit the first walks of summer to 10min. You can increase the walks as your pet gets fitter. Always take a bottle of fresh water and small bowl or tupperware to offer your pet refreshment regularly. I would recommend our natural pet remedy, MobiLive Pets, for any pet at the start of summer to loosen up the joints and provide muscle and ligament support."
3. Paw Protection
During summer, the one part of your pet's anatomy that takes a huge amount of battering is his paw pads. During walks look out for broken glass and be considerate and avoid hot tar (rather opt for grass if you can).
Cathy says: "Once home, inspect your pet's paw pads for grass seeds which can imbed painfully in the flesh. Cracked paws can be soothed with natural oils like those found in Natura Pets Snout & Paw Balm. Keep his nails trimmed and remember that just like us, after a day walking out and about, a nice paw massage is bliss!"
4. Be water aware
Make sure that if your dog cannot swim (or even if it can, a sudden seizure is a risk too) that access to the swimming pool is cut off. Animals may try to drink out of the pool (especially if overheated) and lose their balance. Safety around the sea is also crucial.
Cathy says: "Do not take your dog into the water if he is uncomfortable or cannot swim - it only takes one wave to cause great distress and even drowning. Likewise, it's not a good idea to take your animal on a boat, jet ski or any other water sport equipment. Rather leave him on the beach with the rest of the family to enjoy fetching a ball and chasing birds!"
5. Allergy attack
Summer heat means that skin conditions and skin allergies may worsen. Pets with skin that folds (Bulldogs, Sharpei, Pugs) need to be dried properly if they get wet as trapped water can cause skin itchiness and flaking. Do not over wash your pet in summer - this will only aggravate the conditions. Wetting your pet to guard against the heat is recommended, only if he doesn't mind. Otherwise, try a cool dampened towel on his tummy.
Cathy says: "Skin Allergies in summer can flare up for animals that are sensitive to heat rash, grass allergies and other irritants. Make SURE that your pet is regularly cleared of fleas and goes through a thorough flea control program (there are many new products which are very effective - ask your vet). Our natural remedy, Allergy Itch Ease is very effective in breaking the cycle of constant scratching and our Skin and Coat Tonic can help to replenish nutrients to enhance the coat and re-nourish the skin. Just like you, exposure to sun and sea or pool water can affect your pet's skin - so extra skin care is essential during the summer months to keep your pet's skin and coat healthy and shining and to prevent skin problems. "
A note on holiday safety
Cathy says: "If you're traveling and intend booking your pet into a kennel - make sure to inspect the kennel first and see that it is adequate. ASK if there have been any recent cases in the past 2 years of parvo or distemper. Because your pet will be exposed to so many animals in a relatively confined space, the risk of contracting an illness increases. Remember that there are natural ways to protect your pet before checking into kennels. I always strongly recommend Feelgood Pets Parvo-K and also KC-defense (kennel cough often sweeps through the kennels) for any pet who spends time in kennels. If you have a pet sitter make sure he or she has all relevant vet numbers and details on any medications your pet may need. Make sure your animals have the correct identification tags and are micro chipped. On the other hand, if you are planning on taking your pet with you on a car journey, or even just a short trip to the beach, make sure that your trip is not spoiled by pet motion sickness! AllisOne Nat Mur Tissue Salt no. 9 is a natural remedy which is a real winner when it comes to preventing car sickness in pets!"