With the UK having experienced hotter than average temperatures this summer, official advice from the RSPCA warns against walking dogs in the daytime sun. But what else can you do to keep your pet safe?
Top tips for keeping pets cool in hot weather
• Never leave animals in hot cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans, even if it’s just for a short while. Temperatures can quickly rise to 47°C (117°F) which can result in death
• Use pet safe sun cream on exposed parts of your pet’s skin, such as the tips of their ears and nose, to avoid sunburn. If you’re unsure on the right product, please ask your vet
• Ensure pets always have access to shade and fresh drinking water to help keep them cool
• Putting ice cubes into your dog or cat’s water bowl or making some tasty ice cube treats is another fantastic idea
• Damp towels for your pet to lie on or an ice pack wrapped in a towel could provide a welcome relief from the heat
• Dogs may also appreciate a paddling pool to splash around in
• Check every day for flystrike. Flystrike is a painful, sometimes fatal, condition caused by flies laying eggs on another animal, which hatch into maggots and eat their ‘hosts’ flesh. If an animal becomes infested, seek immediate veterinary advice. Pets most at risk are those with dirty rear ends or generally dirty fur. This may occur in animals which are unable to clean themselves properly, are ill, are fed inappropriate diets, have an internal parasitic infection or have an open wound(s)
Preventing flystrike in pets
Flystrike can occur in hours and toxic shock and death can result very quickly. Therefore, ensure you:
• Speak to your vet about the best way of reducing the risk of flystrike before warmer weather starts between April and October
• Check for signs of illness/injury/ abnormal behaviour daily
• In warm weather check your pet all over their body, especially around their rear end and tail area at least twice a day
• If your pets back end is dirty, clean immediately with warm water; ensure the area is dried thoroughly. It may be necessary to clip the fur; if you’re unsure how to do this, seek advice from a specialist
• Clean toilet areas daily
• Clean housing and change bedding at least once a week
• Ensure your pet is not overweight and is fed a correct diet
• Consider insect-proofing the housing of pets living outside, putting net curtains over hutches and runs etc
• Neuter female rabbits as females may be more prone to flystrike
Walking your dog in hot weather
Dogs need exercise, even when it’s hot. The RSPCA recommends walking your dog in the morning or evening when they will not burn their paws on the pavement or be at increased risk of heatstroke.
Signs of burned pads include:
• Limping or refusing to walk
• Licking or chewing at the feet
• Pads darker in colour
• Missing part of pad
• Blisters or redness
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