10 Top Tips to keep your pets healthy in Summer
Now that summer is in full swing and we are spending more time outdoors we have some timely advice to keep your pets in top shape
1. Stock up on Creepy Crawly treatment
Summer is often the time that parasites are at their worst. Not only do parasites cause skin irritation but they often carry diseases. Regular treatment with the right product should keep things under control. Remember preventative care is an important part of your pet and their well-being. Follow our tips below to keep your furry friend happy and parasite free.
It’s always good to check your pet’s fur frequently for any signs of fleas or flea dirt.
These blood sucking parasites can easily be treated with monthly spot-on applications like Advocate and Stronghold for cats, Advocate for dogs and household sprays for the home. There is also a new flea and tick collar called Seresto that is very good and lasts for six months. We do not recommend most pet shop flea treatments as often they are not effective and can be toxic.
Be careful of long grassy areas in particular near woodlands (e.g. New Forest, Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common) whilst you’re out for a lovely stroll with your pet. Ticks lie in wait in vegetation and attach rather easily to the fur of dogs and cats as they brush past.
If you suspect that your pet has a tick then drop into the surgery and pick up a tick remover device – this is easy to use and is very effective. Alternatively, bring your pet in for an appointment and we can take it off for you. If your pet is getting recurrent tick problems then a preventative treatment such as a Seresto collar or Frontline will be needed.
Fox mange can be transmitted to dogs and is incredibly itchy and can cause hair loss too. We have a large fox population in South London however fox mange can be easily prevented with monthly Advocate application.
This is a very serious disease in dogs and can cause coughing, pneumonia, bleeding, strokes, vomiting, diarrhoea or even death! Due to the serious nature of this parasite a regular preventative treatment is strongly recommended.
It is spread by foxes and slugs and snails – all of which are very common in South London!
Regular Advocate spot on treatment is the only realistic preventative treatment and as it also treats fleas, mange, some worms and ear mites. It is therefore strongly advisable for all dogs.
For more information on being lungworm aware http://www.lungworm.co.uk
2. Ensure your pet is microchipped
What would happen if your pet went missing? We all know how much our pets mean to us, and the last thing we want is for you to be in a situation where they are lost, or even stolen. We want to help re-unite with your pets as quickly as possible and keep them all safe and sound. Microchips are also needed for pet travel and as from next year they will be compulsory in dogs.
To help promote micro-chipping as part of responsible pet ownership we have a £10 microchip promotion that runs until the end of July. To take advantage of this extended offer, call asap to book an appointment.
3. Be careful of the heat
Animals, like us, can also suffer from overdoing the sun and getting too hot. The pets we need to worry about here are:
- Cats with white ears – the UV radiation from the sun can cause cancers to the ears and also the nose. If you have a cat with white ears or a pink nose then limit the sun exposure and possibly also apply special cat high factor sunscreen to their ears.
- Brachycephalic dogs (short nosed dogs eg boxers, pugs etc) or dogs with respiratory problems – remember that dogs have limited ability to sweat so they rely on panting to lose heat so these dogs can really struggle in the heat so taking them out for walks early in the morning or late at night is advisable.
- Older or sick animals (especially ones with kidney disease or diabetes) – these guys can get dehydrated quicker so always have fresh water available and call the vets early if they seem sick as dehydration can set in quickly
Whatever you do don’t leave dogs unattended in any vehicle!! Even if you have a window open, the humidity and heat can rise to such dangerous temperatures in a very short space of time. Lots of dogs die every year like this.
Heat Stroke is thankfully quite rare although we do sometimes see dogs that suffer heatstroke. If you feel that your dog has overdone it and has collapsed in the heat then this is an emergency so come to the surgery immediately.
4. Check your pet for grass seeds/ grass blades
One of the natural dangers especially in the warmer months is grass seeds which can play havoc with your furry pals if left untreated. These spiteful little seeds are so sharp they can penetrate the skin and then continue to move underneath the skin, ending up almost anywhere! Dogs seem to suffer more with grass-seed darts penetrating their skin and orifices although cats can occasionally suffer from them too.
How to stay on top of potential grass seed problems:
• Check between the toes for grass seeds after your cat/dog has been outside and, if possible, keep the hair clipped short in this area.
• Regularly check other likely places for grass seeds such as in the ears and under the tail, and pay special attention if your pet is shaking his head or nibbling at any particular area of the body.
• If you suspect a grass seed then come in to the vets early as you can as they get harder to deal with the longer they are left untreated
Cats do not tend to suffer from grass seeds very often however they strangely often get blades of grass stuck behind their soft palates at the back of their mouths. Cat then often gag and choke. It is important if you suspect a blade of grass to go to the vet to check as sedation is needed to pull it out.
Poor Nala, a 6″ blade of grass was stuck at the back of her throat and up into her nasal cavity. The grass was successfully removed in one piece and Nala felt a lot better.
5. Get Kennel Cough Vaccination done early
Kennel Cough although usually not a serious disease, can be very contagious and will spread rapidly around the dog population in your area. It’s not just in kennels that dogs pick up kennel cough but also from mixing with dogs in parks and commons, having dog walkers or doggie day care. If in doubt it is a good idea to get the vaccination done. It is very simple to give as it is just a drop of liquid squirted up the nostril.
The vaccine takes a week to become maximally effective so don’t leave it until last minute…
6. A Tip for Bunny Owners
The tip for bunny owners is to check your bunny’s bottom at least daily. This is to try to prevent and treat flystrike if it occurs. This is a very unpleasant problem that rabbits can get when flies lay eggs around their bottoms. They then hatch into maggots and start to bury into the rabbit. This can happen very quickly in a matter of hours and can be rapidly fatal.
Things to look out for are any moistness, diarrhoea or faecal matting, also any small white eggs. If any of these are noted then immediate veterinary attention should be sought. The good news is that this disease can be easily prevented with cleaning and clipping and use of products such as Rearguard.
When handling rabbits always remember to support their bottom.
7. Get your Pet Passport organised
Taking your pet abroad can be very exciting and it is easier now than ever before to take your beloved companion abroad with you for a holiday adventure. However make sure that you have everything organised with plenty of time.
If all the countries that you are travelling to (and via) only require a PETS passport then you must come in for a rabies vaccination at least 21 days before travelling if this is a new passport, a microchip is also required. For existing passports then ensure that the rabies vaccination is still current. For more advice visit the DEFRA website https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad or call the surgery and speak to one of our government registered LVI vets.
For many non-EU countries (e.g. South Africa, Australia, New-Zealand etc.) you cannot use a PETS passport and an Export Health certificate (EHC) is instead required. It is recommended that you contact DEFRA for the full details of your requirements. The Import and Export Centre is available on 0118 959 6695. For some destinations additional blood and faecal tests may be required – the requirements may be complicated and need adequate planning in advance. The EHC is then sent to the surgery only 7-10 days before travel so phone the surgery regularly to check it has arrived.
Also, do not forget that in many places there are diseases that your pet can pick up eg leishmaniasis, babesiosis and erlichiosis. There are many preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the chance of contracting these serious illnesses abroad – for further advice on this then please speak to one of our vets.
8. Poisonings and Hazards to be wary of…
We generally see more of these problems in summer so follow some of these tips to keep your pet happy and healthy –
- Keep your cat in at night – this is often when cats fight and get into trouble.
- If your cat gets into a fight bring it in early to avoid abscess formation
- Keep an eye on these foreign objects that often get stuck in doggie’s tummies – chop bones, corn on the cob, apricot/peach stones, and chewed toys.
- Keep nails trimmed to avoid ripped nails
- We know lilies look lovely but they are very toxic to cats, avoid!
These are all poisonous to dogs – raisins and grapes, onions and firelighters (dogs sometimes eat these).
9. Illnesses and Dehydration.
It is very easy for our furry friends to get dehydrated in the summer especially when the weather is at its hottest. Owners of pets with the conditions below should be particularly careful.
Cats prone to cystitis. Ensure there is always fresh water. A water fountain (eg Drinkwell fountains) can sometimes stimulate drinking.
- Pets prone to pancreatitis or stomach upsets.
- Kidney disease – these patients cannot retain water very well and get dehydrated very quickly
- Diabetes – these patients always need access to water as even when they are well controlled will need water to prevent dehydration.
Always bring these patients in to the vets even earlier than normal to avoid the devastating effects of dehydration.
10. Top tips to reduce Allergic Reactions
The most common allergies in pets are skin allergies. They can cause excessive licking, scratching, hair loss and ear problems amongst other signs.
Follow these tips to help with these common allergies :
- Keep dogs away from long grass
- Use a shampoo such as Malaseb regularly to reduce the allergens from the skin as well as kill bacteria and yeast
- If your pet has a flare up, come in early as it is often easier (and cheaper) to fix it.
- There are a number of new effective treatments that are available for pets with allergies eg Atopica, Apoquel, Cortavance. Ask the surgery for more information.We also see a lot of anaphylactic type allergic reactions to bee and insect stings over summer. This normally shows as a sudden onset swollen face or foot but can also show as vomiting and diarrhoea. What to do?
- Come in to the vets early as there are some treatments that will stop it quickly such as anti-histamine and steroid injections.
- If you see a sting then flick it off using a nail, do not grab it as it may release more sting into your pet.
For more news, stories and tips don’t forget to join us on facebook or speak to any of our friendly team.
Have a Healthy and Happy Summer!