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Sun safety for animals

Keeping your pet safe in the sunWhile the warmer weather is upon us it is important to remember that animals can suffer from the same problems that humans do if they are exposed to the sun, including sunburn, overheating and dehydration. Here are some of our top tips to help you prevent this. 

Cats

  • Always ensure your cat has a shady area to retreat to on a warm day.

  • Cats are particularly prone to skin cancer so ensure you apply a high factor sun cream to their ear flaps.

  • Groom long haired cats regularly as they will shed their winter undercoat in time for summer to help keep them cool.

  • Change wet food and litter trays regularly to help keep flies away.
  • Encourage your cats to drink regularly by providing water in a variety of different vessels around the house.

Dogs

  • Never leave your dog in a car, even with the windows open. During the warmer months a dog can die in a hot car in less than 20 minutes!

  • Avoid walking your dog in the hottest part of the day, between 12pm and 2pm.

  • Keep long haired dogs cooler by grooming them to get rid of excess hair and clip long haired dogs for the summer season. Do not shave their hair as this leaves the skin prone to sunburn.

    If you give your dog treats in a Kong, why not freeze it overnight to provide your pet with a new challenge and a frozen snack!

Small animals

  • Make sure your rabbit or guinea pig has an area of shade. This can be provided by covering one end of the run with a towel or blanket.

  • If you have a long haired pet, check their bottom at least once a day to ensure it is clean and free from flystrike. Flies lay their eggs in a pets dirty fur and the warm weather causes them to hatch, which can kill your pet.
  • Chop up some pieces of apple or celery and give your rabbits and guinea pigs some added moisture!

Field animals

  • Keep your animals out of the midday sun; if they are normally turned out all day then swap this around and turn them out overnight instead.

  • Avoid exercising your horse during the hottest part of the day to prevent heat exhaustion.

    A salt lick will help horses replace the nutrients lost through sweating.

Heatstroke

  • All animals can suffer the effects of heatstroke, which can be fatal if not recognised and treated early on.

  • Signs and symptoms include; heavy panting, red gums and tongue, lethargy, lack of coordination, reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing, vomiting and diarrhoea.

  • Under the Animal Welfare Act you have a legal duty to care for your animal and if you put your animal at risk, you could face prosecution.

If you see any animal in a car on a warm day, call the RSPCA 24 hour national cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999 or the Police on 999.

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