Summer Safety for Cats and Dogs
When the days are long and temperatures heat up, take extra care to keep your cat and dog happy and healthy…
Pale-coloured cats and dogs are vulnerable to sunburn; particularly on their ears, noses and sparsely haired areas.
Sun damage can lead to skin cancer which may require extensive surgery – even amputation in severe cases.
The best prevention is to keep your cat or dog indoors when the sun is strongest, between 11.00am and 3.00pm.
Alternatively, cover vulnerable areas or regularly apply a non-toxic waterproof human sunblock or a product specifically for pets.
Seek prompt veterinary advice if your pets skin looks sore, crusty or scaly.
How to keep your pets cool and prevent heatstroke
Your pet needs access to clean water at all times, ideally in a large bowl filled to the brim. Older pets are particularly vulnerable to dehydration.
Make sure that you brush long haired pets regularly – a tangle free coat will provide better protection from the sun. Some long-haired cats and dogs may benefit from a summer haircut – consult your local groomer for advice on what is best for the type and breed of your furry friend.
Cool matts are also a great way to keep your pets cool in the hot weather. They retail on Amazon for a medium matt at just £12.99.
Animals can suffer fatal heatstroke within minutes – if they are unable to reduce their body temperature by panting they will develop heatstroke. Some types of dog are more prone to heatstroke, like very old or young dogs, dogs with thick, heavy coats or dogs with very short flat faces like pugs and bulldog types
Make sure your pet always has access to clean water, ideally a large bowl filled to the brim
On hot days, let your pet go outside during the cooler parts of the day, in the early morning and late evening
Watch your pet for signs of over-heating, including heavy panting and loss of energy. If you recognise these signs, encourage your pet to have a drink.
Signs of Heatstroke:
Appearing lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
Emergency First Aid
For the best chance of survival, pets suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.
Move him/her to a shaded/cool area.
Immediately douse the pet with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock. If possible, you can also use wet towels or place him/her in the breeze of a fan.
Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water.
Continue to douse your pet with cool water until his/her breathing starts to settle but never so much that he/she begins to shiver.
Once the pet has cooled, take them to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency.
Cats – Getting Shut In
Cats are naturally curious and notorious for their ability to sneak into places where they may not be wanted, such as a neighbour’s garage or shed. These areas can become dangerously hot in the summertime and this can have dire consequences, as lack of water can cause dehydration, overheating and even death. Older cats are particularly vulnerable because ageing kidneys mean that dehydration occurs rapidly.
The risk of cats getting shut in sheds, greenhouses and garages increases in the summer as cats spend more time out and about. If your cat goes missing it is worth thinking about what has been happening in the neighbourhood recently and making enquiries.
Making sure your cat is microchipped and that the details are kept up to date significantly increases the chances of you being reunited should your cat go missing.