Animal Care

Summer Pet Care Advice

summerTemperatures are rising, and, according to all sources…well, recent weather reports, the beach is the place to go; and the park, and the lakes. Ok we may not see blue skies and sun throughout the Irish summer but temperatures do rise during the summer months, but, do you know, this hot weather can pose a real threat to pets?

Animals simply CANNOT tolerate extreme temperatures; so, as a responsible pet owner you must make absolutely sure that your pet is safe. 

Below are some tips to help you out:

Never, ever leave your animal in a car. Pet owners should know the dangers of leaving any animal in a hot car; even for just a few minutes. This particularly applies to dogs. Dogs love to travel in a car and it’s tempting to let them go to the supermarket with you when buying supplies for that all important barbeque. But don’t leave your dog inside, even with the windows open. 

Temperatures do not have to be in the 90’s for a car bound dog to be in serious trouble. Even at much lower temperatures, even under a cloudless sky, the humidity inside the car turns it into a sauna.  

Remember this: Research has shown that if it’s a sunny 78 degrees, the temperature in a car, with the windows open, rises at least 32 degrees in 30 minutes. In short, 78 to 110 in half an hour!   Temperatures in air conditioned cars can reach the same temperature as outside within just five minutes of being turned off.

A parked car in hot, sweltering weather is a killer!  This is what will happen: On a hot day, it takes a matter of minutes for a dog to end up organ-damaged or dead!

Watch out for warning signs

If your dog pants quickly, looks very tired or collapses, it could be suffering from heatstroke. Put it in a cool, shady spot and spray its body with cool water, or give it a cool bath immediately. Never cool your dog so much that he/she begins to shiver. Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water. Contact a veterinary surgeon urgently for further advice as heatstroke can be fatal.

Therefore, our advice is to leave your dog at home. Place his bed/kennel in a shaded area and he will automatically go to that shaded area when he needs rest from the hot sun.

Leave them plenty of water and leave the water in the shaded area.  Check their water bowl regularly to make sure there is plenty of fresh water.

If you are taking your dog out with you in the car, make sure you have him well strapped in. Purchase a car safety harness for your dog. This is for your safety as much as theirs! They are available in any good pet shop or from our DSPCA gift shop. Cats should always be in pet carriers when travelling in the car.

One small jolt in traffic can have a very sad result for an unsecured pet. Also, if you’re driving a car, and are forced to brake suddenly, an unsecured animal can be thrown forward, hitting you in the back of the head or neck, causing painful injuries to both you and your pet.

Make sure the car window is open while driving; enough to give your animal plenty of ventilation.  Don't leave your dog in the car if you need to leave your vehicle.  If you know you will be leaving the dog alone in the car don't bring your dog with you, leave them at home!

When walking your dog, remember there are areas and times during the day where temperatures soar. It makes sense to walk your dog in the early morning or late evening, when temperatures are lower. Not only are peak times uncomfortable for them, but the hot concrete can actually burn their sensitive paws. Never excert your dog during hot weather.

Always take along water both for yourself and for your dog. Stop frequently to allow both of you to have a refreshing drink. Many domestic animals do not sweat to keep cool. Dogs, for instance, have no sweat glands and can only lose heat by panting. Make sure they always have plenty of water to help them keep cool.

Tip: Temperatures are at their highest during mid day and three. Try to avoid these times.

Keep your dog & cat groomed: This is always a good idea but particularly important during the hot weather. If your pet has long hair then that’s just like you wearing a fur coat in 90 degrees of heat! It’s not comfortable for you! Regular brushing also helps remove the winter undercoat and can help your pet better regulate his body temperature. It’s not comfortable for your pet! 

However, you do need to remember that if your dog has been trimmed, they are susceptible to sun burn. Sunscreen should be applied to dogs and cats with white tipped ears and noses. 
Tip: Children’s sunscreen, Factor 50+ is particularly good.

Keep an eye out for insects: We protect ourselves from insects during the hot weather, but we sometimes forget our furry friends are also at risk. Make sure your dog and cat get their regular flea and tick preventative.  And… keep that first aid kit close by in case of bee and wasp stings.

Water Safety: If your dog likes the water, he will instinctively want to swim during the hot weather. Please put a life jacket on your dog. You can never be too cautious when it comes to your beloved pet and water safety.

FOR THE BIRDS

Please do not leave bird cages or fish tanks on windowsills! Move them into the shade.  Cages or aviaries located on sunny patios or in courtyards can become like furnaces as a result of radiated heat from the floor and wall surfaces.

BUNNIES & OTHER SMALL FURRIES

Do not leave rabbit hutches in the full glare of the sun. Move them to a shaded area now! The same applies to guinea pigs & ferrets.  Warning! Bunnies are prone to fly strike (maggots). This can be fatal. Maggots can enter your bunnies’ bottom when they have a poo and this can kill your pet within 24 hours. Make sure your bunnies’ bottoms are clear of feaces. (Poo).

FISHES

Fish can have just as many problems in warm weather as other animals. Indoor fish should be kept out of direct sunlight. Change the water and keep it clear of algae which spreads much faster on sunny days.

Fish ponds in the garden should be fitted with a suitable pump and filter to reduce the build up of waste products and to promote good water circulation.

WILDLIFE

Be wildlife-friendly in the garden - take care when using a lawn-mower or strimmer and keep toxic pesticides out of reach of animals.

Disturb bonfires before burning garden rubbish.

HORSES

Please provide ample, fresh, clean water for your horse or pony. Check buckets and troughs daily and make sure they are not contaminated with bird droppings or insect larvae.

Remember, ponies and foals may have trouble reaching to the bottom of a shallowly filled trough so make sure everyone can reach the water!

Sponge your horse down gently, making sure not to get water in his ears or on his face.

If you must work/ride your horse, make sure to do it early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperature is cooler.

After riding your horse, cool him down slowly. Loosen girths or belly bands immediately and offer sips of cool –not cold – water and walk your horse slowly. His muscles are more likely to stiffen if he is allowed to stand. Moving his muscles will dissipate heat more effectively for the animal.

Make sure your horse has a shaded place to rest – away from the sun.

Apply sunscreen (Factor 50+) to horses with pink noses to prevent sunburn.

Hot weather means the grass growth slows down and the pasture quality declines. Make sure your horse is getting fodder and maybe you could supplement if necessary. 

Hot weather brings biting insects and these can keep your horse pacing or stomping. Make sure they have plenty of field shelter.

Leaving any animal without adequate food, water or shade is a serious offence and will be considered an act of cruelty.

 

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