How to protect your pets in summer

Hot weather is bliss for pet owners: who doesn’t love swapping rainy dog walks for sunny strolls?

But hot weather and the lure of a barbeque are just some of the hazards faced by pets in summer. These top tips will help to keep them healthy all through the warm seasons.

Worried your pet has heatstroke?

If an animal overheats, they may suffer from heatstroke and dehydration, which can be fatal. Never leave your dog in a hot car and make sure they don’t get trapped in sheds or conservatories on a warm day. You may be able to wear summer clothes but your pet can’t shed its furry coat so they find it harder to cool down. Overweight dogs or breeds with flat faces such as pugs and bulldogs are even more at risk of overheating.

Symptoms of heatstroke include excessive panting, drooling and an increased heart rate. If you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke, cooling them down is essential. Move them into the shade and spray them with cold water or wrap them in cold, wet towels. Seek advice from a vet quickly. John Lewis Pet Insurance offers a service called vetfone™ which allows you to speak to qualified veterinary nurses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This is perfect for situations where you are unsure if a trip to the vet is necessary.

Keep pets away from the barbeque

It’s not just the heat from the barbeque that is hazardous - some food can also be toxic to pets. Avocadoes, onions and garlic are poisonous to many animals and greasy, fatty food can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Make sure your pets don’t steal kebab skewers as they could damage their intestines.

Beware insects, fleas and ticks

If you think your pet has been stung by a bee or wasp, check if the sting is still visible. The best way to remove it is to scrape it off with a credit card, rather than pluck it out with tweezers. Once you’ve done that, treat the area with vinegar for wasp stings and bicarbonate of soda for bee stings.

Keep an eye on your pet as a sting can cause allergic reactions – symptoms include difficulty breathing, vomiting, skin reaction or collapse. It’s particularly important to monitor your pet if they’ve been stung on the face or head. If you’re worried, call a vet or speak to a qualified advisor via vetfone™.

While fleas are a year-round problem, ticks are more common in warm weather.

Ticks can cause itching and skin inflammation, as well as carrying Lyme Disease and Babsiosis. Although they’re relatively immobile, they’re common in long grass and will attach themselves to pets as they brush past. If you find one on your pet, remove it with a tick hook, which you can buy from your vet or pet shop. Make sure it’s fully removed to prevent infection.

Plan ahead for holidays

If you’re thinking of taking a summer break, make arrangements for your pet too. Want to take them to another country in the EU? They’ll need a Pet’s Passport, which involves microchipping and a rabies vaccination at least 21 days in advance. Check for details.

A kennel or cattery will also require that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, so leave plenty of time to organise these. And if you’re asking a neighbour or petsitter to look after them, make sure they have your pet insurance details in case there’s an emergency while you’re away.

How can John Lewis Pet Insurance help?

The last thing you want to worry about is a costly vet’s bill, so it’s reassuring to know that John Lewis Pet Insurance offers a level of cover to suit your needs and budget.

Find further tips and advice on pet insurance.