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Summer Pet Dangers - Tips on Keeping Your Pet Safe

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Summer's definitely arrived so it's extremely important our four legged friends are well and truly prepared for, and they're fully protected at all times.

Most of us humans know only too well the many health risks associated with hot weather, often taking sensible precautions to avoid painful sunburn, annoying allergies, and dreaded heatstroke.

But are we looking after our pets enough to allow them to enjoy their summers too?

A good example is white cats' ear-tips, and pale dogs with very short coats, both extremely prone to sunburn. These suburnt areas can quickly turn into serious skin cancer, so always apply non-toxic sunblock to these areas, and if you notice any skin changes such as reddening, contact your vet immediately.

If you own a dog (especially spaniel) please be aware of those arrow-shaped grass seeds - small and sharp they attach themselves to dog's coats - usually between toes where they can painfully burrow up through skin, or even become trapped in eyelids or ear canals giving rise to head-shaking and severe discomfort.

When returning from walks inspect your dog's coat thoroughly - better still, prevent this painful (and potentially expensive) problem from happening by clipping fur from feet and ears.

Also make sure annual vaccinations are up to date, pollen allergies are controlled, and check regularly for ticks and fleas which can irritate your pets, even spread disease.

Summer insects like bees and wasps are also hazards especially to inquisitive puppies and kittens exploring new gardens, often disturbing and then trying to eat them!

Similarly, dogs rummaging around in undergrowth off-lead are at risk from adder bites, affected areas quickly becoming swollen and painful. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your pet's been bitten.

Older, long haired, and short-nosed dogs, such as bulldogs and pugs, should be walked early in the morning and late at night avoiding higher temperatures that could make normal breathing and routine exercise difficult.

Remember pavements and roads heat up very quickly too so always be aware of sore, blistered pads, and choose a walk on short grass instead.

With all pets enjoying being out-and-about more it's always a good idea to make sure they are microchipped too as it's often the only way of reuniting with your dog if they get lost or stolen.

Rabbits are particularly at risk from a condition called flystrike where flies lay eggs on dirty bottoms hatching into maggots, which then eat the rabbit alive.

Flystrike is incredibly serious and can be easily prevented by checking under your rabbit's bottoms at least twice daily during the warmer months and protecting hutches from flies; ask your vet if concerned.

Whatever the species of pet they should all have access to shade, fresh clean drinking water, and make sure any wet pet food diets don't spoil in the heat.

Finally, please never leave your dog in your car, not even with a window slightly ajar. It happens every year - especially at places like dog shows and supermarket car parks - and so many dogs die from this.

So if you see a distressed dog trapped in a car, then don't hesitate to call the police as soon as possible. If you have tried to find the owner and have called the police and the dog is still in great distress, smash the window if necessary.

Wishing you and all your pets a safe and happy summer!

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