Summer may be the season of fun but for fur babies, it can pose extra risks. Dr Louisa Fenny, WA state manager of app-based home vet visit booking service Pawssum Vets, said a range of health issues became more of a problem in Australia’s warmest months and pet owners needed to be vigilant to guard against them. “From avoiding heatstroke and watching out for grass seeds to minimising your pet’s sun exposure to reduce the risk of skin cancer, there are lots of summertime health hazards we need to be aware of to keep our fur babies safe,” she said.
Heatstroke (or Heat Stress)
Dogs and cats don’t sweat like humans do, only pant, and so are prone to overheating, especially during summer.
- Signs of heatstroke include: excessive panting, weakness, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, unresponsiveness.
- Ensure you have enough shade in outside areas (shadecloth may not suffice).
- Avoid walking pets during the middle (hottest) part of the day in summer.
- When walking your pet on hot days, ensure they have plenty of shade and rest along the way.
- Make sure they have extra water accessible at all times. Many dogs love to play with large (icecream container size) iceblocks which helps keep them cool and can be made at home.
Summer is often a time of getting away and frequently involves changes in routine, which can impact pets.
- Taking pets on the family holiday can be a great idea but the environment is often less controlled than at home. If you’re taking your pet with you, ensure the space is safe by conducting a thorough check as soon as you arrive.
- Consider leaving your pet at home; travel can be tough on them and pet sitters are easier to come by than ever now and Pawssum vets can come to the home if any health issues arise while you’re away. Even boarding can be a better option for anxious pets.
- Before you head away, ensure your pet is in good health and its vaccinations are up-to-date. Whether they are coming with you or staying with a sitter, a full health check is a great idea.
- Make sure if you’re taking your pet with you that they have their usual foods and bed (if possible) and try to keep to your at-home exercise routine.
Just like in humans, skin cancers don’t develop overnight in pets. It’s therefore critical to keep their sun exposure in mind throughout the year, but especially during the harsh summer months.
- Don’t allow your pets (cats especially love this) to spend a long time on the windowsill on a hot day.
- Consider your local area – those parts of Australia with searing temperatures are linked to higher rates of skin cancer in pets.
- Pet sunscreens don’t offer enough protection on their own.
- Skin cancers are most common in hairless areas ie. the nose, eyelids, ears, and abdomen
- Many pets will seek out festive foods that are dangerous to them – especially hot leftovers that have been sitting out as they can cause food poisoning – so keeping a close eye on where they are is key.
- Most cats and many dogs are lactose intolerant so regular chocolate is a ‘no no’. In fact, chocolate is toxic for dogs because they don’t have the biological mechanism to process it. Dark and cooking chocolate is more dangerous than mild chocolate but if a dog ingests any chocolate, it needs to be seen by a vet fast.
- Lollies and desserts like Christmas pudding are not a good idea for pets; they do not need sugar at all and can impact their teeth and waistlines.
- Many people tend to ‘put their feet up’ and ‘let their guard down’ at this time of year while relaxing but this can pose trouble for pets who do like their routine so do try and keep to yours so your pet doesn’t get anxious.
- Fireworks and excessive noise from Christmas guests and parties can be stressful to pets so ensure they have a quiet, safe space to chill out.
Pawssum enables vets to make home visits and then refers cases needing surgery to trusted and selected Pawssum referral vet clinics around Australia. Pawssum’s on-demand veterinarians can deliver 80% of a pet’s health care needs in the home – or office – including vaccinations, health checks, dental checks, behaviourist consultations and peaceful at-home euthanasia for increased comfort and privacy.
To find a vet near you, download Pawssum Vets: The app that is all about making it easier and more fun to own a pet, by bringing your local vet to the comfort of your own home. Book an appointment and let the vet come to you – no more stressful car trips and long waits in the vet clinic!
One of the great things about Mad Paws is that it brings together pet owners and lovers onto one platform giving everyone on it who uses the service at one time or another, piece of mind on their next vacation.
Enjoy your well deserved break away and search for trusted sitters in your local neighbourhood.
Human holidays are a joyous time to visit with family, travel, host visitors and enjoy the best of summer weather. But dogs and cats can wind up finding the holidays particularly stressful with disruptions to routine or become overwhelmed from visitors.
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