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Help your pet enjoy summer as much as you do!
With the scorcher of a summer we had last year, it is never too early to prepare for hot weather when you have pets. Perhaps this means arranging doggie day care in advance of an event so that your dog isn’t left in a car; or re-vamping the rabbit run so that there are plenty of airy, shaded places for bunnies to get away from the midday heat. Even if this just means stocking up on the essentials, like pet-safe sun cream or a doggie paddling pool.
The helpful people at the RSPCA have put together some tips and advice on the welfare of pets in summer. The full article can be seen at: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/seasonal/summer
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 pets 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.
- Check every day for flystrike.
- 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.
Walking your dog in hot weather
Dogs need exercise, even when it's hot. We recommend walking your dog in the morning or evening when they will not burn its paws on the pavement or be at increased risk of heatstroke. If the pavement is too hot for your hand it's too hot for your dogs paw.
Signs of burned pads:
- limping or refusing to walk
- licking or chewing at the feet
- pads darker in colour
- missing part of pad
- blisters or redness
Cat care in the summer
Although cats will often seek shade and drink more water to stay safe, here are a few extra steps you can take to ensure they stay cool during the hot weather:
- Always check sheds, greenhouses and summerhouses before closing them up. Cats can find their way inside if they're looking for a cosy spot but could become too hot or dehydrated if trapped.
- Where safe, keep windows and doors ajar to allow a breeze through the house. If your cat lives indoors-only consider different options such as windows with locking mechanisms, which still allow air into the house but also keeps your cat indoors.
Fish, amphibians and reptiles
- Keep fish tanks and reptile or amphibian enclosures out of direct sunlight and carry out water changes regularly, to prevent overheating.
- Top up the water levels of ponds and make sure pond fish have access to shaded areas created by aquatic plants.
- Check temperature levels inside enclosures regularly to ensure they are at the correct temperature gradient for the species.
- Keep indoor captive birds out of direct sunlight and ensure aviary birds have shaded areas. All birds need access to clean fresh water, both for drinking and bathing.
- Birds such as parrots often enjoy being gently misted with cool water, to cool off and maintain feather condition.
- Help garden wildlife by supplying fresh, clean water for drinking and bathing. Be wildlife-friendly - take care when using lawn-mowers or strimmers and keep pesticides out of reach of animals.
- Prevent animals getting caught in sports netting by removing them after use, as this could cause serious harm if they get entangled in it.
- Snakes are most active during June and July; don't be alarmed if you see one. Most are just passing through and tend to shy away from humans.
Breeding season for grass snakes - June and July mark the breeding season for grass snakes. You may find their small leathery white eggs in compost heaps, grass cuttings or sawdust piles between June and September. You can tell they're grass snakes eggs as no other snake native to the UK lays eggs outside of the body. Please make sure the eggs are left undisturbed throughout this time.