Thursday, 22 August 2013

Sunny Days - Protecting Your Pet

It's not just us that are vulnerable to the sun's rays, our pets are too! Plenty of information is advertised about protecting ourselves when the weather warms up, but many tend to forget that our animals also need protecting too. And with the weather set to heat up this bank holiday weekend, it's worth remembering there are products available for your pets and plenty of tips to keep them cool.

Pets at Home kindly sent me some of their latest sun products for dogs to test and so before taking my friend's dog Penny out for a walk, I thought I'd give them a go!

Penny is a 7-year-old lurcher. She is a short-haired, light-coloured dog and so the sun's rays can filter through the hair to the skin. It's worthwhile remembering that dogs can burn on other parts of their body including their muzzle, ears, nose and any other pink areas that are at risk from the sun.

First were the doggy sunwipes. With a SPF of 15, all I had to do was simply run the wipe over Penny to give her instant protection. What was great about these was that they were really convenient and it didn't take two seconds to wipe Penny's ears and muzzle. There are 20 wipes in a packet, so these will last a good couple of weeks during the summer too.

Next up was the doggy sunmist. This can be used on both grown dogs and puppies and has a nice smell of vanilla coconut too. This is a fast way of applying suncream to your dog and helps you to give them complete protection. What was good about this product is that when you spray this on your pet, it's just like our suncream because you can see where it has been applied and then it disappears once it is rubbed in. I also liked that it was not too greasy and so didn't leave much residue on my hands.

Lastly, I used the doggy sun stick. Penny was very patient while I applied this, but I can understand that some dogs may not like it because when applying it to their face you have to get quite close. I used this on Penny's nose because this is an area that is always exposed to the sun when we are out walking. This is quite a handy product too, because you can easily fit it in your pocket, so when out and about the suncream can be topped up.

In warm weather our animals' body size can make them more susceptible to heat stroke, so it is hard to tell how warm your pet is because of their fur coat. Some of the signs of heat stroke include: lethargy, drooling, lack of coordination, vomiting, diarrhoea and rapid shallow breathing.

Some top tips for looking after your pet in warm weather:
  • Even if it's just for a few minutes, never leave your dog in a car alone. Although the windows may be open, temperatures can soar in minutes and can cause heatstroke. 
In June 2011, two Met police dogs were left inside a baking car for six hours. This was one of the hottest days of 2011, when temperatures outside the car reached 29 degrees (84 farenheit). Both of the dogs: Chay a bomb detection dog and Tilly a five-month-old Alsatian puppy died despite being rescued and taken to an emergency vet.
  • Ensure your pet is not kept in direct sunlight. This is especially relevant for small animals that live in outside hutches, such as rabbits and guinea-pigs and even birds kept in cages, because many simply wouldn't think that they would get hot when placed near a window.
  • During the summer months, flystrike can be rife among rabbits, especially if they are susceptible to getting dirty fur. Flies will lay eggs on the rabbit and maggots will then hatch. This is a life-threatening condition.
This happened to one of my rescue rabbits Millie. She had trouble cleaning herself and so would sometimes get dirty, even though we would clean her every day. Luckily, I caught this condition just in time, but others should be vigilant and you should check your rabbit at least twice a day. If you do find something, contact your vet immediately.
  • Ensure there is plenty of fresh water available for your pet during the day and also change this regularly to prevent it from becoming stale. 

All of the three Petkin products I tested out are available online at the Pets at Home website. At the moment, customers can also get three products for the price of two, which includes these doggy suncreams. Visit 
  • Doggy sunwipes - £2.99
  • Doggy sunmist - £5.49
  • Doggy sun stick - £4.99

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