Caring for your pet during the summer

Summertime is arguably the best time of year; long days, warm nights and even warmer days. One of the first things we do is take off a layer of clothing but our pets don’t have that option! So we've comprised a list of ways you can help your pet if they look like they’re struggling with the summer heat.
Summer advice for both cats and dogs

If both of you are in the same room, you can leave a fan on to keep cool. Your pet can sit in front but always check they don't get too close. You can freeze some water into ice cubes and give them to your cat or dog to lick, or place them in their water bowl. To make the best pet-sicles you can add a little bit of catnip or food into the water before freezing it.

Let your pet find a cool spot in your house. Make sure they have access to areas with tiled floors or a room that is not exposed to the sun. Both cats and dogs love to lie on kitchen floors on hot days – the tiles help them to stay cool. 
If the weather is really hot, play games/go for a walk in the morning or evening when the air is cooler. Remember to keep your pet hydrated by leaving out bowls of water in the room you’re in and the cool room you have prepared.

Advice for protecting your cat from the heat

Don’t forget to brush your cat often; a well-groomed, tangle-free coat will help to keep them cool. Cats sweat through their paws, so if you see a trail of little paw-prints, it’s a sure sign they're feeling the heat.

Always watch out for cat heatstroke: symptoms include panting, lethargy, vomiting and collapsing. If you think your cat might have heatstroke, call your vet immediately. It’s highly unusual for a cat to pant or breathe through their mouth.

Advice for protecting your dog from the heat

Never leave your dog in the car, not even with the window down and the air conditioning on. Your car can reach very high temperatures in minutes, even if the weather is reasonable outside. Avoid walks in the middle of the day when the temperature will be at its highest. Stick to the morning or evening, as the temperatures are cooler. However, never let your dog run after a meal during hot and humid weather. It can cause bloat, which is a very serious condition.

If you have a puppy or a senior dog, keep them out of the heat by letting them relax in a cool room inside your house. If your dog is obese or is a snub-nosed breed (like bulldogs or Pekingese – the technical name for these is brachycephalic) you should avoid exercising and playing during the heat of the day.

If your dog shows any sign of overheating (excessive panting, bright red gums, uncoordinated movements) call your vet immediately. Keep your dog cool by wrapping them with wet towels, provide shallow water for them to bathe in (e.g. a paddling pool) and giving them ice chips to chew until you get to the vet. Be sure not to place ice or ice cold water on your dog’s body as this can distress or hurt them.

How to protect your pet from bugs

Ticks and fleas can make your pet and you very sick! It can also lead to infestation in your home, so you will need to check your pet regularly. Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in wooded areas or tall grasses are more susceptible to getting ticks. 
You can brush your pet regularly and inspect their coat thoroughly. Be on the lookout for skin irritations, such as bite marks or red skin. If your pet has long hair, consider having them groomed in the summer when ticks and fleas are more prevalent. This not only helps prevent insects from latching on your pet’s coat but it will also keep them cool.

If you have a garden, keep the grass short to prevent creating breeding grounds for pests. Fleas and ticks often hide out in tall grasses. Don’t forget to regularly wash your pet’s bedding, crate, toys and food bowls.

Speak to your vet about flea and tick prevention – they will also be able to advise you on the common bugs and the risks in your area – certain parts of the country have particular risks which we need to be careful of!

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