Caring for your dog and cat in the summer sun

Written by bethney foster
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Caring for your dog and cat in the summer sun
Make sure you take precautions for your pets during the heat. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

"When it's hot outside, ideally we should bring our pets inside."

— PDSA, the UK's leading veterinary charity's advice via the Met Office.

The long days of summer can be your pet's most enjoyed time of year. School breaks and work holidays mean Whiskers and Prince Albert can expect more time with their people and excursions to their favourite places. The joys of summer, however, come with their own risks for your animal companion. Keep your pet safe with a few precautions.

Defend against bugs

You take the most important summer safety precautions before your pet steps out into the summer sun. Warmer temperatures mean fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are waiting to feast on Prince Albert's blood. If your pet isn't on parasite prevention, consult your veterinarian about what product will work best. Summer often means travel, boarding and exposure to other animals, making it especially important to protect your pet against disease. Ensure vaccinations are up-to-date at the beginning of the season. Parasite prevention and vaccinations aren't just for dogs and cats. Rodents, reptiles and horses also need routine veterinary care to enjoy a safe, pest-free summer.

Fill the water bowls

According to the RSPCA, "if going out in the car, think very carefully about what you are going to do with your pet." For example, they highlight that dogs should never be left alone in a car, even on days that aren't that warm, as it can get unbearably hot for your pet. If you're travelling with your pet, take bottles and a bowl so you can frequently offer your pet a drink. This is critical at the beach because dogs often swallow salt water, which only increases dehydration.

Cool it down

If you don't have air conditioning, help Whiskers stay cool by using fans to keep the air moving. Put out a bowl of ice for him to lick. Wipe your pet down with a cool cloth or icepack several times a day. For rabbits and rodents in enclosures, place a frozen water bottle in the cage. Leaving windows open will help keep inside temperatures cooler, but ensure screens are secure. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals notes that summer brings an increase in High-Rise Syndrome, when pets, especially cats, fall out of high windows. The fall can seriously injure or kill your pet.


Caring for your dog and cat in the summer sun
Protect an outdoor cat's nose with sunscreen. (Christoph Jorda/LOOK/Getty Images)

While every pet guardian knows it's dangerous -- and illegal -- to leave a pet in a parked vehicle when temperatures are warm, there are other safety precautions for Prince Albert's outdoor summer adventures. While fur provides some protection against the sun, pets get burned just like people. Keep sunscreen on your pet's ear tips and nose, the areas he is most likely to burn. Exercise your pet early and late, when temperatures are cooler. This is especially important for rabbits, that can suffer heat strokes in temperatures as low as 26ºC (80ºF) if the humidity is high. Test the temperature of pavement with your hand before your pet walks on it.

Keep them secure

Pets can often get lost during the summer months, due to increased amount of outings, lounging in the garden, trips or going for longer walks. It's advisable to get your pet a tag that includes your name, telephone number and address. You might also considering getting your pet a microchip. Furthermore, with barbecues, garden parties and other summer activities, doors and gates inevitably get left open. There are also loud and unfamiliar noises, from fireworks to afternoon thunderstorms, that frighten some animals and cause them to jump fences or bolt out opened doors.

Furthermore, the fact of being in the garden during the summer months, brought in advice from vet charity PDSA, advising owners to take a few extra precautions.

Senior Vet of the PDSA, Elaine Pendlebury says: "Garden treatments and some of our most common plants and flowers can actually pose a serious poisoning risk to cats, dogs and other pets. But a little extra vigilance will ensure that any hazards are kept well out of reach of prying paws."

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