What an amazing few weeks of warm and sunny weather we have had, and so here are some timely reminders of what we should be doing to keep our pets safe when it’s hot.
Dogs in cars – we received several calls last week from members of the public who were concerned about dogs being left in vehicles. Even with a vehicle parked in shade, with its windows open and a blanket over the windscreen, the temperature inside is likely to cause a dog discomfort, or worse – it could cause heatstroke and death. Please leave your dogs at home when the weather is as hot as it has been.
When exercising your dog try to avoid the hottest part of the day, and don’t play with them outside when the temperatures are high. Many dogs just don’t know when to stop and will continue to play with a ball despite over-heating.
Cats are generally less energetic in warm weather and they are adept at finding shady places to rest. However, those with white noses and ears are at risk of getting those areas sunburnt, and so they should have a high-factor, pet-safe sunscreen applied.
If you are a rabbit owner please be extra vigilant at the moment and check your pet’s fur at least twice a day, particularly at its rear end (under the tail, which can be hidden from view). Flystrike is a huge problem in the summer months – flies are attracted to moist and dirty areas to lay their eggs which rapidly hatch into maggots. There are licenced products that can be applied to a rabbit’s fur to prevent fly attraction, but good husbandry and hygiene will minimise the problem.
And what about wildlife? We have had some sick hedgehogs brought to us over the last few days with a variety of problems, including tick infestations. Ticks know no boundaries and will happily attach themselves to any mammal or bird, and so check your pets regularly. Ticks can kill smaller animals or, at least, severely compromise their host’s immune system.
A couple of the hedgehogs that we saw last week were dehydrated and so we put out a ‘hedgehog alert’ on social media asking for people to place shallow bowls of fresh water in their gardens for the hogs to drink from.
And the island has had visitors over the TT fortnight who were not here for the bikes – we received lots of calls about racing pigeons that had come to rest in people’s gardens. If the bird is uninjured our advice is always to give it some fresh water and seed, if you have it, and allow it to have a ‘pit stop’ for anything up to four days. The rejuvenated bird will then carry on with its journey home, usually back to the north of England or Scotland.