Tips for general pet care – Part 3

Caring for your pets this summer

Too many pets die from thirst and dehydration. It happens every year, in our own back yards. Not always from lack of attention, sometimes because of our excessive heat conditions. Older animals usually, become affected first.

Don’t leave pets in cars in the summer. Even with windows wound down a bit, cars are very hot and animals can die as they dehydrate very quickly.

We complain ourselves, about the heat and water restrictions imposed upon us, or having no air-conditioning when the power is off. We can still take a shower or help ourselves to a cold drink. Our pets can’t.

So avoid leaving your dog or cat, out in the back yard all day, completely at the mercy of you and the heat.

Make sure that all your pets have plenty of fresh water and access to shade. Keep them out of the direct sun where possible. Like us, they can suffer from sunburn, heat exhaustion and will quickly dehydrate without water. If for some reason the dog has to be kept on a leash or chain, be sure that he can’t tip his water over, or become entangled, therefore unable to reach it.

The same applies to birds; make sure they have plenty of shade and water. Some of the smaller varieties like finches will die more easily in extreme heat conditions, even the larger birds can die, if not looked after properly.

Birds have a habit of bathing more often to keep cool, which will pollute the water quicker in the heat. Water left in the sun becomes hot to drink and will evaporate quicker. Be aware of that. Automatic feeders are good for water, although these can become blocked with dust and seed.

Fish ponds need to be topped up more often, due to evaporation and heat. The heat and sun causes algae to grow more quickly in the summer months. Check that your filters haven’t become blocked with it.

It helps if you have an automatic, reticulated garden. Add an extra water outlet for each of your pets, this will give them a fresh flow water if you forget. Although you still need to check.

When you take your pet for a walk, be considerate; you wear shoes to protect your feet. Don’t make them walk on the hot pavement or bitumen roads.

Don’t forget, when you complain about the heat in your air-conditioned home – Spare a thought for your pets outside, left to the mercy of you and the heat.

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