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We've created a guide for you, it’s your guide to a fun filled, pet safe summer.

The summer holidays.  The weather is fine (hopefully), everyone is smiling, and we all tend to take a bit of time off work.  Things start to look up for our pets too as we have longer days and more time to spend with them.  We're sure that your pets will bask in the extra attention and enjoy the lovely things you do with them.  Just a small note of caution, it is in the summer months that we see the likes of heat stroke, pancreatitis and beestings spike in our consultations. So we've created a guide for you, it’s your guide to a fun filled, pet safe summer.

First let's tackle the big one, heat stroke.  Common in dogs especially because owners often love a good walk in the sunshine.  In the middle of a warm day it is seriously worth considering whether it’s sensible to walk your dog.  It has been said that to every one of your miles, they cover three, some just don’t know when to stop.  They can get incredibly warm in this way and the cool mornings and late evenings are by far, a better time to walk them.  We think by now it goes without saying that ‘dogs die in hot cars’.  But what some maybe don't appreciate is just how quickly a car can become dangerously hot, it’s not worth risking it even for a few minutes.  We can only imagine how distressing it must be for an over-heating dog who lacks the ability to do anything about their situation.  Cats and dogs don't sweat in the same way that people do and therefore they have less ability to cool themselves.  All of these things can result in heat stroke.

Heat stroke ranges from mild cases where symptoms potentially go unnoticed, to severe cases that can result in death.  Symptoms include excessive thirst, heavy panting, vomiting, rapid heart rate, lethargy and collapse.  If you think your pet is suffering with heat stroke, contact a vet immediately, the sooner it is treated the better the outcome.  Whilst you will likely be asked to bring your pet for examination, there are one or two things you can do in the meantime to help the cooling process begin.  Seek shade immediately and provide water, little and often is best.  You can use damp towels placed over your pet to help bring body temperature down.

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On a super-hot day (few and far between we know!), it is possible for cats and dogs to burn their paws on hot tarmac or sand.  The ‘five second test’ is a quick and easy way to tell if it’s too hot to walk.  Place the back of your hand on the tarmac for up to five seconds.  If you don’t feel the need to draw it away from the heat in that time then it’s likely safe for your pet’s naked paws.  If your pet burns their paws (and this goes for the dare-devil cat who jumps onto the cooker hob too!) you should seek veterinary advice because burns are extremely painful.  They are open to infection too and you will need advice on how to manage them both immediately and in the longer term until healed.  Never apply butter or ointment to the area.  You can however cool the area with cold water to stop the burn continuing.  If your pet is in shock, this should be considered a priority over the burn and you will need veterinary help quickly.  For electrical burns, it is essential that you ensure your pet is detached form the electrical source and no longer ‘live’ with electricity before you handle them, for your own safety.

Summer is barbecue season and many of us make the most of it. The trouble is that there tends to be lots of fat drenched food around, often within easy reach of our pets.  We know some of your pets, when it comes to food, simply don't have an off button.  They’re built in this way.  It is instinct to make the most of any resources possible, when it’s possible.  The danger here is that fatty BBQ foods plus greedy pets, might result in pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis is an excruciating condition that can occur acutely in response to an influx of fat in the diet.  The pancreas produces enzymes to digest food and if overloaded, it can become inflamed.  The result is a pet who is very sorry for themselves indeed.  Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration.  They are likely to be put right of their food and become lethargic.  In these cases, your pet needs to see a vet. 

Some dogs are obsessed with bees and wasps and it’s cringe-worthy to watch them snapping away at them, if only they knew!  It’s not uncommon for cats and dogs to stand on a lazy bee or wasp and sustain a sting.  If your pet is stung, try to remove the sting using the edge of a bank card to swipe across it rather than using tweezers which will likely squeeze more poison into your pet.  There are two ‘home remedies’ that could help however to use these you must know if the culprit was a bee or a wasp or you will only make things far more painful.  For wasp stings the acid in vinegar will neutralise the alkaline sting, and for bees, bicarbonate of soda should do the job because bee stings are acidic.  You should continue to monitor your pet closely for signs of allergic reaction and always phone for veterinary advice if you notice any swelling, vomiting, difficulty breathing or collapse.  Allergic reactions can be so severe that the throat swells rending a pet unable to breathe.

We hope your summer holidays are full of fun for you and your pet, and with our tips in mind, it should be that little bit safer too. 

Why not join us as for a great activity this June with our charity walk? On Thursday 28th June, we'll be holding a dog walk - a lovely wander with your furry friend and for local charities - click this link for more details: 

http://www.cedargrovevets.com/pet-services/practice-events/charity-walk/



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