Summertime should mean fun, sun
(maybe!), and lots of play outdoors. Unfortunately this
means that we can see more cat fights, tails stuck in
patio doors and road traffic accidents as a result. We
also see injuries associated with BBQs, including burns
– where pets have jumped onto the hot BBQ and digestive
upsets after eating food they wouldn’t normally.
By following some of these tips, so you can take some
simple precautions to keep your much loved pet healthy,
cool, happy and safe this summertime.
Fresh food and water
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.
Many pets love sunbathing but will often choose an
inappropriate spot. Avoid leaving them in a suntrap such
as a conservatory, greenhouse, 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
•a rapid heart rate
•very red gums/tongue
•lack of coordination
•reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing
•loss of consciousness in extreme circumstances.
If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat
stroke, seek immediate veterinary attention. Detecting
heat stroke early and treating it promptly is essential
to your pet recovering successfully.
Animal safe sunscreens are available and it is worth
considering applying some to your pet’s ears and nose,
especially if they are light coloured. During the summer
months it’s not uncommon to see white cats and dogs
suffering from sunburn and just like us this can lead to
cancers of the nose and ear.
Parasites such as fleas and ticks are more prevalent in
the warmer months. Regular treatment with the
appropriate product should keep things under control.
Check your pet's fur frequently and if you are
struggling to keep parasites under control, make sure
you have treated your pet’s bedding and the house and
speak to your vet for further advice about the best
products to use. Read more about protecting your pet
from ticks, mites and fleas >>
Bites and stings
Insect stings are another potential summer hazard,
particularly for those who can't resist trying to make
friends with bees flying from flower to flower. If your
pet is stung near its mouth or in its throat the airway
may swell and restrict breathing. Some animals may also
be allergic to bee and wasp stings. If you think your
cat has been stung, contact your vet for advice. Read
more about dealing with insect stings in pets
Grass seeds caught in your cat’s 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
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.
Pets love spending time in the garden, so make sure it’s
safe for them. Be careful if you need to use any
pellets, pesticides or other chemicals, and check which
plants are poisonous to your pet (advice on which plants
are safe to pets should be available from your garden
centre). Lilies are particularly poisonous to cats,
laburnum are poisonous to dogs, and daffodils,
rhododendron and yew are poisonous to both cats and
dogs. Avoid using cocoa shell mulches as this is toxic
to dogs (it contains the same ingredient as chocolate).
Read more about pet proofing your garden >>
BBQs and summer parties
If you are having a barbeque, make sure your pet is kept
at a safe distance from the hot barbecue and remember
that party food is not for pets. Kebab skewers, alcohol,
corn on the cob and bones are particularly dangerous BBQ
hazards for your pet.
Rarely seen, but occasionally cats and dogs will disturb
an adder in the long grass. Bites result in swelling,
pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, incoordination and collapse.
If you think an adder has bitten your pet seek
veterinary help immediately.
During the summer sheds and garages are often left open,
so it’s easy for pets to get in and contaminate their
paws with chemicals, which they then lick off. Find out
more about common poisons in cats and dogs.
Flystrike in rabbits
During warm periods of the year (April to October) our
emergency clinics see a considerable number of flystrike
cases in pet rabbits. Flystrike is a devastating
condition caused by the fly Lucilia sericata, or a green
bottle fly, the same species that infests sheep. These
green bottle flies are attracted to damp fur soiled with
urine or soft faeces. Read more about flystrike in