With summer comes heat and a whirl of social activity, which can create situations where your pet is under stress.
Make sure your pet enjoys a relaxed summer season by considering the below tips for animal (and human!) happiness.
Don’t feed your pet human food during Christmas
Delicious smelling presents under (or on) the tree, food sitting around tempting curious animals, Auntie Margot thinking a few chocolates won’t hurt… The reality is if your pet eats food meant for humans, it can cause gastric distress for them and a large vet bill for you.
Don’t leave edible (or strong smelling) presents under the tree and only hang inedible Christmas decorations. Stop guests from feeding your pet human food and ensure food’s not left in any easy to snaffle places.
Protect your pet from loud noises
If your pet is scared of loud noises or fireworks, be aware of the celebrations happening around your home. If you’re going out and there will be fireworks, consider having someone stay with them and provide a ‘safe’, quiet place for your pet that has a blanket, water bowl and toy. If you’re pulling Christmas crackers, ensure your pet is not in the room. For very anxious pets, thunder jackets or anxiety medication from your vet can be beneficial.
Be prepared for hot days
The heat causes everyone discomfort, but it can be especially uncomfortable for animals. Bring pets inside on hot days or ensure there is plenty of shade and cool, clean water for them to drink (in numerous containers in case one is knocked over).
Smaller pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and birds, are particularly affected by heat. If you can’t bring them inside, drape their cage with wet towels and make sure their enclosure is protected from the sun across the entire day. A stable icepack or frozen water bottle they can lean against helps them regulate their body temperature.
Walk your dog in the coolness of the early morning or evening. If your pet seems to be in discomfort, try wetting its feet and misting water onto its face.
Don’t leave your dog in the car
Dogs are particularly vulnerable in cars because if the air around them is too hot, they are physically unable to regulate their body temperature.
Even if your car is parked in the shade, the temperature inside a car can reach hazardous levels for a dog very quickly. According to the RSPCA, it only takes 6 minutes or less for an animal to be overtaken by heat exhaustion in a car and die. If you see a dog left in a car on a hot day, call 000 immediately.
Ensure your pet has company if you go away
If you are going on a holiday and leaving your pet behind, be aware it can cause separation anxiety. With dogs, this can lead to them hurting themselves and sometimes creating a disturbance for your neighbours.
Escape attempts are common, and these can result in injuries to your pet. Pacing, barking, howling or destruction of property is also common, which can upset neighbours not only for the noise but for the sounds of your pet’s distress.
A pet sitter or staying at a kennel or with a friend/family member is much better for the health of your dog than having someone drop in to walk and feed them.
Have fun in off-leash dog parks
Playing in off-leash dog parks is a great way for you and your dog to socialise. But we all know how quickly a fun atmosphere changes if a dog gets out of control.
By carrying a leash, staying in close proximity to your dog so it can hear your command and maintaining constant visual contact, you can avoid any problems and enjoy the outdoors this summer.