Summer safety tips for cats

How to keep your cat cool in summer

Cats can’t keep cool as easily as we can. Although cats are originally from a desert environment, they used to avoid problems by staying in the shade during the hot days and hunting and being active at dawn and dusk. They can only sweat through their paw pads and will only pant like dogs when they’re extremely hot. We’ve also bred some cats to have much thicker coats which means it’s harder for them to keep cool.

 

 

Does it matter if I have a long haired or a short haired cat?

Any cat can struggle with the heat and it’s important for all cat owners to be aware of the signs of overheating and heatstroke. Common signs include:

  • Panting
  • Dribbling
  • Wobbling or struggling to stand up.

Some breeds will struggle a little more with heat than others, be aware if you have a cat that can be described below that it may be a little tougher to cool them down!

  • Flat-faced breeds. Cat breeds with short noses – like Persian or British Shorthairs – can have difficulty breathing because of the extra tissues at the back of their throat. Breathing problems can get much worse in hot weather
  • Fluffy cats. Cats with long or thick fur will feel the heat more than their short haired friends. They might need extra help to cool down in a heatwave and need regular grooming. They might even appreciate a summer hair cut!
  • Older cats or cats with health problems. These cats are generally more sensitive to the heat and are more prone to serious problems like heatstroke. It may be safer to keep poorly cats inside the home, so that they don’t become overwhelmed by the heat outside and not be able to get themselves to somewhere more comfortable.
  • Overweight cats. Carrying some extra weight puts your cat’s body under extra strain. This can make it harder for them to cope with the heat.

Outdoor cat?

It can be tricky to help your cat keep cool if they love to be out exploring, but you can make sure your garden is a shady haven on summer days:

  • Create shade. Trees and shrubs create great natural shade for garden-loving cats. You can also hang a sheet or blanket up to create a shady spot.
  • Garden drinks. Make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water when they’re in the garden.
  • Mornings and evenings. Let your cat out to explore in the morning and evening when the weather is likely to be cooler. Try to keep them inside during the hottest part of the day.
  • Sun protection. Cats with white or thin fur will need some extra protection from the sun so stock up on pet-safe sun cream.

Indoor cat?

Here’s how you can keep your cat cool if they prefer to lounge around the house on hot days:

  • Plenty of water. Have a couple of water bowls around the house so your cat won’t have to go far to find a drink. This is especially important if you have more than one cat, as they don’t like sharing bowls. You can find more tips on keeping your cat hydrated here.
  • Avoid warm rooms. Keep your cat out of rooms that are likely to get very hot, like conservatories. Cats can also quickly overheat in cars and caravans.
  • Create a cool room. Encourage them to spend time in a nice, cool area of the house. Make the room enticing with places to rest: if it’s very hot you could provide some ceramic tiles as a nice place to kick back and keep cool. Offer your cat a couple of healthy treats so they associate the room with something special!
  • Open windows. Cats are curious by nature and the cool breeze from an open window will be very temping for them. Stop your cat from having a serious accident by putting mesh or netting across your windows.

Does grooming my cat make a difference?

In short, yes! Regular grooming will help your cat keep so much cooler, especially long haired cats. A simple zoom groom every day will remove excess hair and will also reduce the time taken by your cat to do this which will help keep them cooler also.

Seek advice from your local groomer, quite often they have great tips and cat depending, they may be able to groom your cat.

Our top tips for keeping cats cool in summer

  • Ice cubes might be good to cool us down, but they can also cool your cat down while encouraging them to play. Pop a couple of ice cubes on a hard floor and encourage your cat to bat them around.
  • Always make sure there are plenty of shady areas for your cat to go, both outside and inside.
  • Put water bowls in different places around your house and outside so your cat always has a source of water.
  • Try popping an ice pack or frozen water bottle wrapped in a blanket in one of their beds or an area they like to sleep so they have somewhere cool to lean on.
  • Play with them at dawn and dusk – when the weather is coolest – so they’re less likely to run around during the hotter hours of the day.

Summer safety tips

Orchard House Veterinary Centres summer safety tips!

  1. Plan your walk
    Plan the route of your walk to include plenty of shade and remember to take plenty of water on your journey. Walk your dog in the early morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler so they will be at reduced risk of heatstroke and try stay in the shade as much as possible.  Be particularly careful if your dog is unfit, obese or suffers from breathing difficulties.
  2. How hot is the ground?
    Tarmac can get very hot in the sun, check it with your hand before letting your dog walk on it so they do not burn their paws. Place your hand on the ground for seven seconds, if it is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your dog! Either walk your dog later or stick to sheltered grassy areas.
  3. Provide shade and water
    Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water and shade, this is so important and will make them feel much more comfortable.
  4. Don’t let them get burnt
    It is a common misconception that dogs cannot get sunburnt, they can, and they do! Use pet-safe sun cream on exposed parts of their skin such as the tips of their ears and nose and avoid direct sunlight where you can – ask your vet for further advice if needed.


What to do if your dog overheats

If your dog is too hot and unable to reduce their body temperature by panting, they could develop heatstroke which can be fatal. Dogs with certain diseases or on some types of medication are also more prone to heatstroke. If you have any concerns about the heat and the medication your pet takes, please contact us!

Some dogs are more prone to heatstroke than others, such as very old or young dogs, those with thick heavy coats or those with short, flat faces (such as Pugs and Boxers). Where possible, avoid overheating, even in the shade!

What are the symptoms of heatstroke in dogs?

  • Panting heavily
  • Appears lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
  • Drooling excessively
  • Vomiting
  • Collapsing

If your dog is showing any of the signs, please contact your vet immediately.


Dogs die in hot cars

Dogs Die In Hot Cars

Think twice about any car trips with your dog – avoid congested roads or busy times of day when they could overheat in the car if you are caught up in traffic. If driving with your dog plan your journey considering cooler times of the day and places to take breaks.

In just 20 minutes, a dog could die in a hot car. Winding a window down is not enough to help your dog – never leave you dog in a warm car. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, call 999 immediately.

 

Emergency first aid for dogs with heatstroke

For the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered, but this needs to be done gradually or they can go into shock. If your dog has collapsed, call your vet immediately as they may advise attending as a matter of emergency rather than starting treatment yourself.

What can you do to help if you suspect your dog may be overheating?

  • Move the dog to a shaded and cool area.
  • Immediately start pouring small amounts of room temperature (not cold) water onto the dog’s body (cold water may cause shock). If possible, you can also use wet   towels or place the dog in the breeze of a fan. If using wet towels, be sure to re-apply water regularly and not to keep the dog constantly covered – sometimes this can heat them up instead of cooling them down.
  • Allow the dog to drink small amounts of room temperature water.
  • Continue to pour small amounts of room temperature water onto the dog until their breathing starts to settle but not so much that they start to shiver.
  • Once the dog is starting to get cooler and their breathing is settling down, call your veterinary surgery so they can be checked over.

If you have any questions or concerns or if you are worried your dog may have heatstroke, do not hesitate to contact us!

Laparoscopic Keyhole spay

What is a Laparoscopic spay?                         

A laparoscopic spay is an alternative to the traditional method. It is less invasive and allows faster recovery time.

In a laparoscopic spay, your female dog will have her ovaries removed with a camera and vessel sealing device through a keyhole incision (ovariectomy). If your dog were to have a traditional spay, this involves an operation whereby a long incision is made on the midline of the tummy. The uterus and the ovaries are stitched with thread and are removed through this larger hole. The technical name for this operation is ovariohysterectomy

lap-spay-diagram
 

 What are the benefits?

The main benefits of a laparoscopic spay are less pain and a faster healing time than the traditional spay operation.

benefits-of-lap-spay

Are Laparoscopic spays more expensive than traditional spays?

Laparoscopic surgery costs more than traditional neutering because it is carried out by a specialist surgeon and requires specialist equipment. Laparoscopic surgery equipment is also costly to purchase and maintain, it takes extra training, experience and a higher level of surgical expertise.

The cost for Laparoscopic keyhole spay surgery is £495.00 all inclusive, regardless of the size of your pet. This includes a post-operative consultation and all medication relating to the procedure.

Can all vets perform Laparoscopic spays?

Laparoscopic surgery requires both specialist equipment and an experienced surgeon to carry out the procedure. Compared to human laparoscopic procedures, a very small portion of pet surgery in the UK is performed laparoscopically. We use a very experienced vet who has over 10 years’ experience and extra qualifications who comes to our practice every month to perform the surgery.

Who will be performing the Laparoscopic spay for my dog?

Laparoscopic spays are carried out by Dugie Gemmill BVMS CERTVR GPCERT (ENDO) MRCVS of Vetscopic.

Dugie was among the first vets in the UK to obtain a brand new qualification in the field, GPCert(Endo), in 2009. Having ten years of laparoscopic experience, Dugie established a surgical consultancy as VetScopic to offer procedures such as laparoscopic neutering to the wider pet owning public at their own veterinary practices. To find out more about Dugie and Vetscopic, please click here 

What do our clients say about the procedure at Orchard House Vets?

” I have two dogs who I booked in to be spayed by laparoscopic keyhole surgery as we had been told this was easier on the dogs in terms of discomfort and recovery. On the morning of the procedure the staff were great and fully explained everything that would be happening. One of my dogs gets stressed very easily and the staff were great with her and made sure she was kept calm. The surgery went well and I was able to take them home the same day, once the staff talked me through how best to keep them comfortable through the night. The after care was also great with follow up appointments to ensure they were healing well. I would highly recommend this procedure for spaying your animals, as my dogs were almost back to normal with no signs of any pain within a couple of days.” – Miss Irving.

How can I book an appointment for this procedure for my dog?

We would strongly advise a pre-operative consultation with one of our vets before booking the Laparoscopic keyhole spay. You can do this by either booking an appointment online (click the link below) or give us a call on 01434 607677.

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We will happily answer any further questions that you might have, please email us at admin@orchardhousevets.com