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Summer Advice for Animal Owners

Humans tend to enjoy sunshine but for animals, the heat can be a little more problematic. Read on for advice on how to keep your pets and local wildlife healthy and happy in the heat.

Dogs

The following advice is from Dogs Trust and dogster.com

Heatwave advice:

Don’t excessively walk your dog and walk them in the morning or late evening when it is cooler.

Never leave your dog in the car – dogs overheat quickly and just 20 minutes can prove fatal. When on car trips,  avoid congested roads or busy times of day when they could overheat if you are caught up in traffic. Plan your journey considering cooler times of the day and places to take breaks.

Always take plenty of water with you when out with your dog.

Make sure the dog has shade to cool off in, either inside or when out.

Take your dog to the groomers and keep their fur clipped.

Dogs can get sunburned – especially white dogs or those with little hair – so try and keep them out of direct sun.

Keeping occupied:

Dogs can become increasingly bored in warm weather, and when walkies aren’t an option, they can become frustrated with all the pent-up energy they would normally burn off during playtime. Top tips for helping your dog have fun safely this summer:

Mental exercise can be just as tiring as physical exercise, so doing some fun brain training will help prevent your dog getting bored and restless. Try teaching your dog some new tricks, or hide toys indoors for the dogs to find – just make sure you are always there, it isn’t too high intensity and take regular breaks to ensure your dog keeps cool!

Paddling pools in gardens can be fun but need to be introduced carefully and ensure you are there to keep an eye on any mischief! Plastic ones that aren’t too deep are best as they shouldn’t burst. Place in the shade if you have the option, and encourage your dog to paddle with some extra tasty treats if they like it!

Heat stroke:

Dogs are quite susceptible to heat stroke, as they can sometimes push themselves a bit too far when they’re having fun in the sun.

The most important line of defense is the owner themselves – make sure you pay close attention to the weather and your dog’s activity.

If possible, keep your furry friends inside on the warmest or sunniest days, and make sure your home is consistently kept at a comfortable temperature.

You’ll also need to have a good understanding of your pet’s personal fitness level — and be willing to change or shorten your workouts. Don’t overexert your dog (or yourself!) in the heat.

If your dog show symptoms of heatstroke – excessive panting, bright red tongue, nausea, inability to continue with normal exercise, thick/sticky saliva, weakness – then move dog into cool area, apply cold water all over body (but not too cold), apply cool towels to head, neck and chest, give small drinks of cool water, take your dog to the vet ASAP.

Taking dogs on holiday:

Please click here for advice from Jill Thorpe at Develop Your Dog

Cats

The following is extracted from catster.com:

Heat stroke in cats happens when a kitty is exposed to extreme heat and his body loses the ability to regulate its temperature, resulting in overheating. Heat stroke in cats is typically associated with a temperature above 104°F, and it should be taken very seriously.

Keeping your cat indoors, well groomed and hydrated will go a long way toward preventing heat stroke. But if this isn’t possible, Dr. Overeem says getting an overheated cat out of the hot environment (for example, the sun) and on the way to the vet is essential, as an examination will be required to assess whether the kidneys, GI tract or heart have been damaged by the cat overheating. Covering the overheating cat with wet towels and using a fan can also help get kitty’s core temperature down — but Dr. Overeem is adamant that severe heat stroke in cats requires intensive treatment to avoid severe consequences.

We keep our black cat Marmite cool by literally pouring water on him – and he loves it! 

Hedgehogs & Wildlife

When there is little rainfall, young hedgehogs become dehydrated and can be found wandering around, disoriented in daylight hours.  You can take them to Gill if she has room but it takes her months to restore them to health.  If you have hedgehogs that live in, or visit your garden, then please put some water out for them and keep the bowls topped up in a drought.  This simple act could save lives and prevent a lot of suffering. Please make the water bowl shallow or put a stone in it so that small creatures don’t drown in the water.

In the spring and summer hedgehogs are grateful for extra food in gardens.  To make a hedgehog feeder, use a long crate so that cats can’t reach in and pull the bowl towards them. Underbed storage boxes are perfect. The hole size needs to be too small for a cat but big enough for a hedgehog ie 10-15cm. To cut the hole, put a wood block behind it and use a sharp craft knife going over the lines again and again, or a hot knife. Don’t press hard or you just break the plastic.

 

Hedgehog feeder

You will not see a hedgehog feed during the day unless it’s very early in the morning or late in the evening. They are nocturnal creatures so if you see one in the middle of the day this means they are sick and need help immediately.

You can get Spikes hog food from pet shops but cat biscuits are also fine. If you use dry cat biscuits, then if a hog has eaten it you’ll have crumbs left in the morning. If the bowl is empty then it’s something else that is feeding eg field mice or birds.

Hogs have an amazing sense of smell. If you put out food every day they will keep coming in.   Don’t put water in the feeder box – better to have shallow dishes of water in the bushes round the edges of the garden. Clean regularly.

More hedgehog advice click here.

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