As the warm sunny days are starting to arrive, it looks like this summer we will all be spending a lot more time in our gardens and exploring local areas with our pets!
If your cat is a sun worshipper, then take a close look at their nose and ears, especially if they are white in those areas.Cats, like people, sun damage can progress to skin cancer. Daily application of non-toxic, high factor sun cream, i.e. one suited for babies, can help minimise the risk, but if the tips of the ears or nose start getting red or crusty take them to your local vets for a check-up.
Dogs love running in long grass, however grass seeds very easily get attached to their long coat and cause problems. Most commonly this is seen in their ears or between the toes, where the seeds track under the skin and cause intense discomfort. Make sure to check their coat thoroughly after a walk to avoid this problem.
Bees and wasps are a great source of interest to our pets, and subsequently often get stung by them. In some cases, this just causes a localised swelling, however if this is within the mouth or neck area then it can affect their breathing.
Heat stroke is seen in all types of animal, and can be fatal. Sadly, we most often see this if a dog has been left in a car on a hot day. Cars heat up like ovens very rapidly; leaving windows slightly open, or a bowl of water will make minimal difference.
You may park your car in a shaded part of the car park but within ten minutes the sun may move leaving your dog exposed. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN A CAR FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME ON A WARM DAY.
Heat stroke can also affect pets out on a walk if it is very warm. Avoid this by not walking your dog in the heat of the day, unless near water or in the shade of a wood. Rabbits are also at risk of heat stroke, as the sun moves round the garden during the day, the hutch may be exposed to direct sunlight and rapidly warm up. Also check where you keep you fish tank or hamster cage. If they are kept on a windowsill then both can get overheated and risk death.
Signs of heatstroke include increased body temperature, excessive panting, salivating and collapse. Should you find your animal like this, go straight to your vet. Simple first aid can be applied to help prevent further damage. Immediately remove the animal from direct sunlight, hose the animal down with cool water, place water-soaked towels on the head, chest, abdomen and feet and if possible have the air conditioning on high whilst travelling to the vets.
As always if in doubt or you are concerned take your pet to your vet for a check-up.