Summer Issues


Table of Contents

* Hot Weather Information *

We can expect more hot weather

Extreme heat in summer is dangerous for our dogs (and other animals), especially oldies and those with heart or breathing problems. Be doubly careful for your pets when summer really turns it on.

N.B.: Cars can be turned into ovens, even under filtered sunlight.

A stable or small livestock building without an insulated roof can also be dangerous in conditions of strong sunlight. Make sure animals are given sufficient water and shade, whether grazing or stabled.

See Heat Stroke / Heat Stress
See Summer
See Blog (August 2012):

In the UK, we are not renowned for our long, hot summers. However, most years produce at least one extremely hot spell or even official ‘heat wave'.

Various activities are associated with the summer and can impinge on our pets' health and welfare, as can the summer heat itself, so forewarned is forearmed.

Summer heat:

While we look forward to a hot summer, dogs especially can suffer from the heat (heat stress) and older dogs even more so. Summer time can be a time that takes away our aged dogs, especially if they are suffering heart problems. Protect them from the heat as much as possible. Open windows (when possible but remember that a dog with noise fear can suffer more), drawn curtains and fans (if safe) are good aids. Do not leave dogs in a conservatory or car. Take your dog for a walk in the cooler parts of the day. Ensure there is plenty of clean, fresh drinking water available. Try to avoid your dog carrying excess body weight. Try to avoid unnecessary car journeys, even to the vet. If a dog overheats, this can be a medical emergency. A rolled up wet towel in the freezer can come in handy, to drape over a very hot dog. The AVMC can supply to clients a homeopathic combination liquid remedy in a dropper bottle, for use in times of heat stress. Horses may be badly troubled by flies. Some may be troubled by strong sunlight (especially if suffering uveitis). Having a field shelter is useful or good tree cover. There are various hoods that can be used for protection. Stabling during the day is an alternative, provided the stable is well-designed to avoid over-heating and is well-ventilated. Ensure an adequate supply of fresh, clean drinking water.

For clients of the practice, we do have homeopathic drops that clients report to us really help dogs to cope with heat (contact).


Cars: I posted this on Facebook on 10th August 2012:

Hot Dogs!

Just a reminder – when you're out and about, it's great to take the dog. However, please don't if you cannot guarantee a safe and shady spot for the car, if you need to leave the dog in the car even for a short while.

Open windows may not guarantee safety from this stealthy killer of dogs. Remember, any shade you have chosen will move round with the sun's movement and can catch you out. Even filtered sunlight can be dangerous.

Barbecues: Most dogs love a barbecue. Lots of social activity, frivolity and falling food can be great attractions. Even an unattended plate of food or barbecue grill (with injury or burning risk) might crop up! Some of the guests may even be mug enough to share, if pestered sufficiently. Look out for accidental ingestion of cooked chop bones, fish bones, chicken bones etc. Also be on your guard if your dog is on a special diet for medical reasons, as the enthusiastic canine foraging may result in dietary disasters. Furthermore, ovenproof glassware (e.g. Pyrex) can shatter (explode) into deadly daggers if it falls onto stone or concrete.

Bonfires: Avoid stacking a bonfire to be burned some while later – it is a wildlife magnet and can be a funeral pyre for frogs, toads, hedgehogs, nesting birds and others.

Grass seeds: Dogs, esp. long-haired breeds, can pick up vicious grass seeds from late June onwards. The grass species involved are Barley grasses (Hordeum spp.) and Brome grasses (Bromus spp.). They are especially dangerous when cut and dried, sprayed or later in the season, when they are naturally shedding the seeds. See Dog Diseases – Foreign Body, It may be wise to clip long hair from ears, legs, belly and feet.

Garden chemicals: Avoid the use of garden chemicals and lawn treatments, if you wish to keep your pets as safe as possible (more).


Local authority weed control: Some local authorities spray weeds around fences, posts and signs, in public walking areas and footpaths. Whatever is said, we do not believe there is any such thing as a totally safe herbicide so caution is needed if grass and weeds go brown early in the summer.

Food poisoning: Food will not keep so well in the summer, so be sure to wash feed bowls and utensils thoroughly each day and avoid leaving meat out of the refrigerator or freezer. Cats are especially susceptible to food poisoning.

Wildlife: Always supply a safe source of water, if possible. Grooming dogs, cats or horses provides lots of hair, which can be put out for collection by nest-building birds. Our summer activities can impinge on the welfare and safety of wildlife. Garden netting can fatally trap birds, toads and hedgehogs. Garden chemicals can be very dangerous. Building bonfires in advance can attract hedgehogs, only for them to be later cremated alive. Noisy activity can disturb breeding and nesting.

Fly nuisance: Horses, ponies and cattle can have a really bad time with flies in the summer. Leave them plenty of tail to whisk flies away. Natural plant oils can act as a deterrent (e.g. Lemongrass, Cedarwood, Tea Tree, Neem). There is now a plethora of horse ‘attire' that can be bought to protect from flies. Chemical fly treatments can be hazardous, to both you and your animal.

Fly strike: Avoid leaving food out upon which flies can lay eggs. Beware maggots in the summer time, especially if an animal has a discharging sore or has soiling of the back end or has urine smell in the coat. Maggots develop surprisingly quickly, in the height of summer. Sheep farmers are well aware of this grave threat to sheep welfare but those with pet sheep and rabbits may not be. Dogs with reduced mobility or animals with chronic wounds can also be susceptible. Thundery or humid weather appears to present a higher risk of fly strike, usually from July onwards.

Pasture: Be on the lookout for Ragwort – it must be pulled up and burned, to prevent accidental poisoning. Buttercups and clover can present problems for horses, if in excess. Be sure to provide adequate fresh water access and shelter from the elements.

Water & Swimming: Many dogs love to swim. Why shouldn't they. In the hot weather, it's a wonderful way to cool off. However, some caution is necessary, for canine and human safety. Wherever a dog swims, there should be an easy way out. When a dog's coat is full of water, it weighs a lot! There should not be submerged obstacles such as fallen trees, bicycles or supermarket trolleys. Also, if a dog were to swim in dangerous water and get into difficulties, be very careful what you do next. It is best to avoid a dog swimming in strong currents, dangerous tidal areas, where there are dangerous banks etc. Many people have died trying to rescue a dog that has eventually escaped relatively unscathed from the incident.

Stagnant water: Stagnant water can pose a threat to health or even to life for dogs. Blue-Green Algae flourish in stagnant bodies of water during times of drought and heat. Run-off from agricultural sprays and fertilizers (agrochemicals) can pollute stagnant water, particularly after rains. Floods will almost certainly be contaminated with sewage and pollutants from flooded drainage systems. Other diseases such as Botulism and Giardia can pose a threat in stagnant water, especially during the summer.

See also: TravelStick and Ball PlayStick Injury

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