With the prospect of at least a few sizzling summer days on the horizon, a leading vet practice is warning owners about the heat hazards and poisoning perils facing their pets.
With temperatures set to rise, Calder Vets, which has a branch in Wakefield, has issued advice so people can take measures to protect their pets.
Senior veterinary surgeon Gemma Kilby warned that many animals, particularly those with thin or light-coloured fur, are highly susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer.
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She said: “We advise against taking pets out on hot days and they should not be left in cars or conservatories where the temperature can become extreme in minutes.
“In warmer weather, always make sure your pet has access to shade and plenty of fresh water.
“If your pet does like to bask in the sunshine, then apply sun cream on areas such as the ears, nose, lips and tummy to help prevent burning, but make sure that it is suitable for animals, as many products contain toxic ingredients if your pet licks them off.
“Be aware that just because a sun screen says it is “child friendly”, it does not mean this makes it suitable for animals and there could still be harmful ingredients in it.
“But it is not just the sun which is a very real, and potentially fatal, danger to dogs and other pets this summer.
“Something as simple as your pooch taking a quick drink from a pond or a lake could lead to serious problems because of the presence of blue-green algae.”
Blue-green algae is a group of bacteria which give the appearance of being algae when they clump together in bodies of water.
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They can be highly toxic to dogs, and owners should not let their dogs drink from, or swim in, areas of water containing blue-green algae. If they suspect their pets have been poisoned, they should contact a vet immediately.
Gemma said: “There is no antidote for the toxins produced by the bacteria but if you catch it early enough, your vet may try and make your dog vomit in an effort to get rid of the toxins before they take hold.
“Sadly, blue-green algae poisoning can often lead to fatal liver failure so it vital to keep your dog away from infected water.”
Signs of algae poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, seizures, weakness and drooling.
With temperatures set to rise, owners should be on the lookout for signs of heatstroke in their dogs, which include excessive panting and heaving flanks.
If a dog shows any of these signs, Calder recommends covering them with damp towels and taking them to the vet. For more information about Calder Vets, visit www.caldervets.co.uk.