In the summer months, our pets can be exposed to a higher risk of illness from environmental factors such as heatstroke, dehydration, snake and spider bites, and even sunburn.
To ensure pet-owners are equipped to care for their pets TAFE NSW Richmond head teacher Animal Studies, Rebecca Coventry, has shared her top tips for keeping your pets safe.
Be sun safe and hydrate - Just like humans, pets are susceptible to heatstroke, especially dog and cat breeds with shorter muzzles. During summer, exercise should be limited to the cooler times of the day, and animals regularly monitored to ensure they are coping with the heat. Remember that road and concrete surfaces can still be very hot and cause burns to footpads.
When it comes to being sun safe, shade and hydration is key.Just as you do throughout the year ensure you keep your pet hydrated with fresh water all summer long. If you notice they are panting and salivating excessively, lethargic or have a dry nose and gums, this is a sign that they may be dehydrated.
Be aware of breathing issues - Panting helps to lower a pets body temperature, but for pets with short muzzles this is not always as effective. If you pet has a short muzzles that effects their ability to breath, check in with your vet to find out ways to manage this during summer, and be vigilant of their breathing. Some breeds that are susceptible include Bulldogs, French bulldogs and Pugs.
Protect from sunburn - Sunburn can be a real issue in animals with short or lighter coloured coats, or pink noses and ears, and can result in skin cancer and other health complications, which is why it is vital to protect your pet from the sun. You can find sunscreens appropriate for your pet at most pet retailers, or by talking to your vet. Best practice is to keep your animal inside to avoid sunburn.
Stay away from snakes - Snakes are active in the warmer months. The best thing to do to keep your pet safe is to avoid bushland and long grass where snakes might be present, and keep them on a leash when on walks. If your pet is bitten by a snake, fast action is vital. Ensure you keep them calm, minimise their movement and immediately seek the assistance of a veterinarian.
Check for ticks - Ticks are active all year round, however they are more troublesome during the warmer months. Paralysis ticks can be deadly. If you find a tick on your pet, contact your vet immediately. Some signs that your pet has been affected by a paralysis tick include; changes in their bark and whine, lethargy, difficulty getting up stairs or on furniture, loss of appetite and drooling.