Have fun in the sun!

Hopefully July will be filled with sunshine and your pets will enjoy the outdoor life with you. To prevent a happy time ending in a trip to the vet please take note of some of the pitfalls of the summer season.

The RSPCA have been running the ‘Dogs die in hot cars’ campaign for a long time. Leaving a dog in a car during a hot day (it doesn’t have to be sunny), even with the windows open a little way, will not be enough to prevent the dog suffering from heat stroke. This also applies to any animal in a hot, confined space without shade or ventilation- don’t forget that rabbits and guinea pigs in outdoor hutches need shade as well.

Heat stroke can also occur when dogs are running around in the hottest part of the day. Dogs with short faces such as Pugs, Staffies and Boxers, along with breeds that have thick coats like German Shepherds and Newfoundlands, can be particularly prone to this condition. Change your walking and play routine to cooler parts of the day to keep your dog comfortable. Conversely, elderly or infirm pets can also get heat stroke if they fall asleep in the sun or are too ill or stiff to get up and move into shade as they feel hotter. A little warmth from the sun is a pleasant experience but move elderly animals into the shade or indoors at the hottest parts of the day.

Just as we are advised to ensure we use sun cream protection to prevent burning, the same advice should be given to white eared cats. The hair in this area is sparse and light so the pale skin underneath is particularly prone to sunburn and over a long period of time may result in cancerous changes in the skin cells which will require surgery. Using sun block on the ear tips will help but ensure you rub it in well and distract the cat with a tasty treat so that it doesn’t lick it off until it has been absorbed. If you have any concerns about your white or light coloured pet, have a chat with one of our vets or nurses.

Going for long walks in the countryside is a great thing to do in the summer months but parasites may be lying in wait in the long grass. Ticks may be sitting on a blade of grass ready to grab a hold of a dog or cat (or human) as they pass by. Once attached, ticks will bite and feed on the host’s blood. During this time they can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease. Is your pet protected against ticks? Speak to one of our vets or nurses about the products that would be suitable for your pet or buy a tick hook. You might like to join our Avenue Healthcare Club and spread the cost of parasite protection through the year, along with many other member benefits.

Often, when the sun comes out so does the barbeque and we enjoy out-door dining. It is a huge temptation for cats and dogs to have the food around, with all the smells and the sociable atmosphere. Please ensure you keep unsuitable foods and the remains of your meals, such as bones, out of reach of pets. Bones can get stuck in the mouth, throat or digestive tract possibly resulting in lacerations, punctures and obstructions along the way down. Please wrap up bones and dispose of them in a secure, lidded bin to prevent wildlife being affected too.

The Avenue Veterinary Centre Team are out and about again at local events this summer. Come and see us at the South Gloucester Show on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of August.

We hope you have a lovely summer with your pets.