Despite what you might think even the UK summertime can potentially be hazardous to pets, and horror stories of animal's dying in hot cars make the news nearly every year. The truth is that the issues that come with the summer month's are entirely avoidable with responsible pet ownership.
Once you are aware and informed on the safety issues in the summer you will be able to protect your pet and hopefully relax enough to enjoy the sunshine (if we're lucky!). Everybody makes mistakes but some of the common summer accidents concerning pets often prove deadly. Whether you own a cat, a dog, a horse or a small animal you should take into consideration the weather and the heat at all times. Here are the issues all owners need to be aware of:
- Hot Cars - Without a doubt the single biggest killer of animals in the summer is from them spending too long in a hot car. This is more likely to happen to a dog as dog's regularly travel with owners, however it can happen to any pet. If you are taking your dog for a walk or perhaps moving house with your pet then you must keep the windows down, allow the animals access to water and preferably have sun visors on the windows (back or rear). If you are traveling a long distance then you will need to stop for regular breaks. Above all never ever leave your pet for any length of time in a car alone, even if the windows are down and you are parked in the shade.
If you think your pet may be suffering from heatstroke you must get them to a vet as quickly as possible. Give your pet water to drink and also pour cool water over your pet, however do not use freezing cold water as this can be more harmful. If you notice your pet is improving and has cooled down you would be forgiven for thinking everything is ok, however it is possible your animal has suffered internal damage and must still see a vet to determine this.
- Access To Water - Heatstroke and dehydration can occur rapidly in animals. It is very easy to forget that animals are covered in fur and often cannot simply have a drink whenever they want. You should try to get into a routine of filling their water bowls or bottles every morning or whenever is best for you during each day. It isn't always easy to spot the signs of these problems until is too late, although the symptoms include panting, acting confused, fast pulse and vomiting. This can occur if your pet is left outside for too long in the sun or if you take your dog on a long walk in the middle of the day. Remember your pet must have access to shade and water at all times and it is better to take your dog for a walk in the morning or evening when it is cooler.
- Water Safety - If you are going on holiday near a beach or lake you must remember to supervise your dog if he is swimming in the water. If the current looks strong in the sea then it is better to avoid letting your dog in the water. If you decide to go boating make sure your dog wears a life jacket. Some lakes contain poisonous algae that can kill dogs, look out for signs in the surrounding area warning of this.
- Beware of Fertilizers - You may be thinking of sprucing your garden up for the summer but many fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides are poisonous to animals and could make them very ill if they eat them. You should store the fertilizer somewhere safe and read the instructions on the label for safety regarding pets.
- Antifreeze - Antifreeze is used in the winter, however it is something that can become a problem during in the summer months too. Cars sometimes leak antifreeze when they over heat and this will appear as a green liquid under the car. The taste is delicious to animals but also very toxic and will cause your animal to be ill or even die. There are safe antifreeze's on the market that will not harm your pet but of course these will cost more.
To keep your pets safe during summer you will need to keep a close eye on them and be particularly aware during hot weather. If you follow all these tips you and your pet will have a safe and enjoyable summer together.