Summer Fun For Pets
As the summer gets into full swing, here are some summer tips and facts: from heatstroke to what to do when you’re going on holiday...
This summer, I'm taking my pet to the...
- Avoid visiting in the middle of the day when it's hottest. Hot sand can burn your pet's paws
- Drinking salt water can cause an upset stomach, so carry plenty of fresh water to keep your dog hydrated
- Always keep an eye on your dog in the water. Dogs can swim but can get into difficulty just like people, especially in open water
- Saltwater can irritate a dog's skin, so give them a rinse with fresh water after their splash in the sea
- Lots of things can wash up on the beach, and may cause a curious pet harm. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t pick up anything left lying around
- Pack your dog's bed and blanket to keep them warm if temperatures drop at night and to help them feel secure
- Keep your dog away from campfires as flying embers could burn them
- Keep toxic chemicals, like citronella candles, out of reach
- Don't feed your dog meat on bones as they can splinter easily and become a choking risk
- Substitute anything glass, that could smash and cut your pet's paws, for plastic
- Many dogs love water, so splash around in a paddling pool, or with a hosepipe to help cool them down
- Don’t spray water into your dog’s mouth – too much water ingestion in a short time can cause problems for pets
- Create shady areas for your cat to hide in and keep cool
- Rabbits love to run around and explore, so make sure your garden is safe and secure and doesn't contain any toxic plants
- Prevent flystrike by keeping your rabbit's hutch clean and dry. Apply preventative treatment and check their bottom daily
- Keep scraps of BBQ food away from your pets, as it could upset their stomach
- Ensure your bins are secure so your pet can't sniff out and eat anything that could harm them
- Before entering an establishment, check that dogs are welcome
- Feed your dog first if they're going to be around food to minimise food envy
- Walk your dog beforehand, as they are more likely to rest
- Ensure you have water and a couple of treats to keep your pet settled
- Keep them on their lead to avoid an unexpected incident
- Don’t give them any alcohol as this is very dangerous for pets
- Make sure your dog is controlled, in good health and their vaccinations are up to date if they're going to be around other dogs
- Is your dog trained to recognise your commands? Know their temperament when around other dogs
- Use rubber toys such as Frisbees or balls, as plastic and especially wooden sticks, can splinter and cause serious injury
- Take an umbrella for shade so your pet can rest and keep cool
- Ensure your pet has had their preventative treatments against ticks, fleas and worms
- Check your pet when you get home for any parasites or grass seeds
Originating from the desert, cats are generally very comfortable in the heat and can often be found stretched out sunbathing. When it gets hot in the summer months, cats mainly cool down by sleeping and resting more, in cool shady spots.
Most dogs are sensible in the heat, but remember that they can easily overheat when playing games and running, so be 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. This will also avoid sore paws from walking on hot tarmac.
On hot days, be sure to check your pets several times to ensure they are comfortable. Signs of overheating can vary, but restlessness, fast/shallow breathing (or even panting), wetness around the nose, hot ears, uncoordinated/wobbly movements and even seizures are all signs of heatstroke.
If you are only going away for a couple of days, most fish should be fine without food. For any longer trips the best thing is to have a trusted, knowledgeable friend or neighbour pop over to check up on and feed your fish. There are automatic feeders available which work on a timer, and dispense food into the water according to a schedule you program into it. Also available are feeder ‘blocks’, which will dispense food over a period of time. Feeder blocks however often end up being eaten early on in the period you are away, running the risk of overfeeding. As a general rule it is better to under feed than over feed fish. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Most vivariums have lights and heat lamps which operate on a timer which is perfect if you’re going on holiday. However, it's best to get someone to check up on your reptile regularly, even if they don’t need feeding every day. Remember to make sure you check your pet sitter isn’t scared of bugs! If you cannot find a friend or family member to help you out, it may be worth looking out for a professional pet sitter. No matter who you ask, it is extremely important to leave detailed instructions as different reptile’s dietary needs can vary a lot. Leaving a couple of emergency numbers, such as your vet, for example, can be useful in case anything goes wrong. If possible, try prepping food and water in advance. Spare UVB light bulbs are useful to have around the house just in case a bulb needs replacing while you are away. Finally, a pre-trip check-up with your vet is a good idea, to give you peace of mind before you head off.
Some people will take their pet with them when going on holiday but remember birds get easily stressed as travel and a change of environment are not always ideal, so a pet sitter might be best. This can be a neighbour, friend, family member or even a professional pet sitter. Always leave detailed instructions because different breeds have different maintenance needs and you will need to plan accordingly. Higher maintenance breeds such as parrots and cockatoos do not do well alone for extended time periods. Birds are intelligent, social creatures so think about enriching their cage with toys and even leaving the radio or TV on during the day. The more you can prep in advance for your pet sitter, the less you have to worry about their diet for the duration of your leave. Some foods can be frozen so separate these into individual meals to ensure a healthy diet. Some birds may take advantage of a newcomer and hold out on healthy meals for treats – so make sure your pet sitter is aware of this, and only gives treats sparingly!