Hot dogs and cool cats

By Shepparton News

We all love our pets, and with some extra attention we can keep our furry friends comfortable during the hot summer months.

The Causeway Veterinary Clinic’s Dr Anna Richards said a clean water supply was vital and recommended having multiple sources so that if one is accidentally knocked over pets won’t be left without drinking water.

At least one bowl of water should be in the shade, so it doesn’t overheat. Fish ponds and swimming pools are not adequate water supplies as they contain chemicals and can be great environments for bacteria and parasites, potentially leading to gastrointestinal issues.

“As many pets spend large periods of time in the backyard, while we are at work or away from the property, it is important that we supply cover to protect them from the harsh environment. Cover may come in the form of shade from trees, a verandah or fernery,” Anna said.

Parasite prevention is important year-round but more-so in the warmer months when it’s the ideal breeding environment for fleas.

Fleas are the intermediate hosts for tapeworm, and mosquitos — which are more active in the summer — transmit heartworm so a regular worming regime should be maintained.

“While this area is not considered a ‘tick area’ during summer we often travel,” Anna said.

“Coastal areas can be tick hot spots — for example, coastal NSW — and for this reason you may need to consider putting your pet on tick prevention before heading off on holidays.”

Flies and mosquitoes can cause irritation to our pets, and there are different repellent products available — but seek professional advice to select the right product.

The incidence of animals presenting to vets with snakebite and heat stroke rises along with the temperature, so recognising symptoms and acting quickly can be the difference between survival and disaster.

“Symptoms of snake bite are variable and dependent on the type of snake, species of animal bitten, amount of venom and the time between envenomation and presentation,” Anna said.

“A pet that has been bitten by a snake may salivate, vomit, stagger, appear blind (due to dilation of the pupils), urinate blood and appear extremely lethargic.”

Walking pets in the cool of the morning is ideal, and care should be taken to avoid concrete, bitumen and even artificial turf as these surfaces can burn your pet’s feet.

Some dog and cat breeds require regular grooming, and this may involve clipping the coat to avoid overheating and matting, and to prevent grass seed abscess formations and other skin conditions.

“This will vary largely on the individual breed and coat length; for further information talk to your local veterinarian or a reputable dog groomer,” Anna said.

Lastly, animal-friendly sunscreen may help protect pale-skinned pets, particularly those lacking pigment over the nose and on the ears.

Care should be taken around the eyes and if the animal has any additional skin issues, and human preparations may irritate our furry friends.