Summer Pet Safety Tips
Sun and warmth is wonderful at the best of times, but can be problematic for pets if we don't take care. To ensure you enjoy the summer sun with your pets, we have shared our top tips on how to keep our furry friends cool and safe, in partnership with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
Sun/hot weather health
- Animals can suffer from sunburn, particularly those with thin, pale or white fur. Use a pet-friendly sun cream on extremities, such as ear tips
- Keep an eye on your pet for any signs of heat exhaustion or sunstroke including excessive panting, drooling, convulsions, collapse and shock. If your pet shows any of these signs, get them out of the heat, shower them with cool (not cold) water, wrap them in wet towels and take them straight to the vet
- Dogs can burn their paws on hot pavements so walk them during the cooler times of the day. Also, take water with you and stop regularly so your dog can have a drink
- Try freezing your dog’s dinner into ice lollies by mixing their food with some water in a cup and putting it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Remove the cup before giving it to your dog
On the beach, camping and parties
- At barbeques, do not give your pets meat which contains cooked bones and ask other people not to give them treats from their plates
- Make sure your dog does not eat chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins or garlic as they are poisonous to them and can have life-threatening consequences if eaten
- If you are taking your dog to the beach, check tide times first. Not all dogs can naturally swim so they could quickly get out of their depth. The hot grains of sand and salt in the sea can also damage their paws so wash them thoroughly when you get home
- Before camping, ensure your site allows dogs and check local laws and bye laws to avoid breaching any restrictions. During your stay, be mindful of low-level cooking equipment and remember that dogs running free can be a danger to nearby livestock
- Do not let your pet off the lead immediately in unfamiliar areas, particularly on cliffs and beaches as your dog may run off the end of an incline or get into deep water
- Grass seeds are common foreign bodies that can cause discomfort, particularly in ears and feet, which are picked up when exercising outside or on a walk. Avoid walking in long grass during the peak summer months of June to August and check your dog’s paws after every walk for lurking grass seeds. Seek early veterinary advice if your dog starts licking its paw or has a small hole between its toes
Travelling with pets
Relaxation of the rules has made travelling abroad with your dog a lot easier, but some rules are complicated so do check well in advance before you travel. Your pet will need a pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate to enter or return to the UK. These can only be issued once they have been microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and treated for tapeworm (dogs only). Click here for further details or make an appointment with your vet for a pre-travel consultation.
- Use a carrier for your cat or a safety harness for your dog. Take their favourite bed, toy, food and treats with you and stop regularly so they can have bathroom breaks
- NEVER leave your pet alone in a parked car, even for a short period of time. The temperature can soar to deadly levels within minutes, even with a window open!
- Feed your pet a light meal 3-4 hours before you set off and ensure a plentiful supply of water whilst travelling
- In case of emergency make sure you have details of a local vet at your destination
Reaching your destination
- There is plenty of pet-friendly accommodation available, so check whether your destination allows four-legged visitors. When you arrive, check outside for any poisonous plants, ponds and swimming pools as well as pot plants, low-level electrical goods and potential escape routes inside which may pose a danger to your pet
- Try to maintain as normal a diet as possible – dogs are creatures of habit and may be stressed by changes in their routine
- Take walks in the morning or early evening to avoid high temperature
- While you enjoy the sun, provide plenty of shady spots for your pet as well as a constant supply of fresh drinking water. You may wish to provide your dog with a paddling pool to cool down in
How summer-safe is your pet?
Get more information about travelling with pets or make sure to contact your vet before travelling.
Remember the key elements of responsible pet ownership
- Identification: identifying your pet is important whether home or away. A microchip has a unique code which, when scanned with a special reader, can be matched to the owner's details on a central database. It is also a legal requirement for your dog to wear a collar and identity tag, so when going on holiday, have a second tag engraved with any temporary contact details.
- Inoculations: all dogs and cats should be vaccinated once a year to protect them from diseases including parvovirus and cat flu. Puppies and kittens cannot be walked or allowed outside until they have had them. Speak to your vet for advice.
- Insurance: insuring your pet is a vital part of being a responsible pet owner. Petplan offer insurance plans for your pets should the unexpected happen and can give you the peace of mind of knowing treatment is attainable and affordable. Petplan also offers Holiday Cancellation, which covers up to £2,000 towards travel and accommodation costs if you have to cancel your holiday due to the illness or injury of your pet. Click here to find out more.