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Summer Pet Advice
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Summer Pet Safety

Whether you have a dog, cat or rabbit, see our advice on keeping them healthy and happy over the summer months

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As the summer gets into full swing, here's some summer safety tips

Whether you have a dog, cat or other small animal this section of the website gives you top advice on keeping them healthy and happy over the summer months.


Originating from the desert, cats are generally very comfortable in the heat and can often be found stretched out sunbathing in the summer months.

Cats (like dogs and rabbits) have sweat glands in their feet so if you notice wet pawprints it’s sweating. Make sure that they always have fresh drinking water and access to a cool environment should they need it.

Cats generally sleep about 16 hours a day but will nap more on hot days.

Play with your cat during the cooler hours in the summer months.


Dogs are generally sensible in the heat, but they can easily overheat when playing games and running so be very careful when playing games or exercising them. To be safe, it is best to walk your dog during the cooler morning and evening hours in the summer months.

Beware of heatstroke and dehydration. Symptoms include panting, lethargy, drooling, vomiting & collapse – if you are at all concerned then please contact your vet straight away.

Never leave your dog in the car, because even with the windows cracked it might only take a matter of minutes for the temperature inside to soar to fatal levels.


Hygiene is very important in the summer months as flies and maggots cause flystrike which is often fatal. Check your rabbit’s bottom 2 or 3 times a day in the summer months to ensure they are clean & dry and infestation free.

If you need to take your rabbit out in the summer months never leave your rabbit in the car because hot cars can be fatal for pets.

Move you rabbit’s hutch to a shady spot or move it indoors to a room with air conditioning or a cooling fan.

Preparing your pet for the heat

Even here in the UK, where the weather is somewhat unpredictable, the heat can prove a problem for pets in the summer months.

Many pets love sunbathing but will often choose an inappropriate spot. Avoid leaving them in a suntrap such as a conservatory, greenhouse, or tent and never leave your dog in a parked car on a hot day, not even for a minute. Heat stroke kills rapidly, so make sure you know the signs:

•    panting

•    drooling

•    a rapid heart rate

•    very red gums/tongue

•    lethargy

•    lack of coordination

•    reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing

•    vomiting

•    diarrhoea

•    loss of consciousness in extreme circumstances.


One of the most common problems seen in our veterinary practices is dogs, cats and rabbits suffering from dehydration or heat stroke. Ensure your pet always has plenty of fresh water available (you could even add some ice cubes too) and take water along with you when walking your dog. Just like us they will need to drink regularly to avoid dehydration in the warmer months. Always remove any uneaten food to prevent contamination from flies, or spoiling due to the hot weather. 

In severe cases, heatstroke and dehydration can lead to kidney and other organ failure, which can prove fatal. In this video, we look at these issues in more detail and give you some top tips and advice on how to protect your pets, prevent accidents, and ensure they play safe in the summer sun.

More information on spotting heatstroke in dogs

Pet in the garden safety

Getting out in the garden with your pets in Summer is one of life’s great pleasures, but did you know that there are all sorts of hazards and dangers out there for the family dog, cat or rabbit?

Including some flowers and plants; compost heaps; ponds; grass seeds and other common garden substances.

Grass seeds caught in your cats and dog’s paws, eyes or ears is an extremely common problem during the summer months. Your pet may show signs of discomfort, shake their head, rub at their eyes or chew at their feet.

•    Trim the fur on your pet's paws and around their ears

•    Check your dog for grass seeds routinely following a walk


Grass seeds can be painful and are difficult to remove from sensitive areas, so please consult your vet if you suspect your pet my have grass seed stuck.


This video highlights some of the potential risks and offers some top tips and advice on how to protect your pets, prevent accidents and ensure safe play out in the garden this summer.

Taking your pet with you on holiday

Your pets are part of the family and, if you can take them away with you when you go away on holiday, all the better. There are lots of pet friendly campsites, hotels and B&B’s throughout the UK and in the EU, but its not only your accommodation to you have to plan ahead for.
In this video, we examine everything from which pets you can take away, short and long journeys and dealing with the heat; to pet passports, vaccinations and what to look for in a resort or location.

More information on pet passports

Leaving your pet when you go on holiday

Sometimes it’s not possible to take your pet on holiday with you and, of course, you want to be sure they’re well looked after when you’re away. We’re often asked for advice here in practice on the best options for the pets we look after and we’re happy to give suggestions based on individual circumstances.

In this video we look at the pros and cons of pet sitting, dog boarding, kennels or cattery, or simply having a friend or neighbour popping in once or twice a day.

More information on caring for your dog whilst you're away

More information on caring for your cat whilst you're away

Common summer ailments and conditions

In the summer, when your pets are out and about more than in the winter months, the warm weather aids the growth of bugs and bacteria that can lead to a host of common summer ailments including fleas, worms and flystrike. And, if your pet isn’t neutered, there’s also the risk of pregnancy even in kittens and puppies as young as 6-9 months. 

In this video, we look at these things in more detail and give you top tips and advice on dealing with them.

BBQ summer safety

Everyone loves the barbecue season and a good summer party out in the garden.

But unless you and your guests pay special care and attention, these enjoyable days can turn out tragically for your family pets.

This video highlights potential choking and poisoning hazards you may not even have considered, and gives some top tips and advice on how best to protect your pets, prevent accidents and ensure they play safe at summertime parties.