Summer Healthcare for Pets

How To Help Your Pet Enjoy Summer With These Tips

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Do you love the summer months for the feeling of good health that they can bring? With longer daylight hours, and (hopefully!) drier and sunnier weather, summer can definitely make us feel better!

But there's also many ailments which can affect our horses, dogs and other animals. As a result of the change in weather and conditions.

Sweet-itch, fly strike, laminitis, sunburn, heat stroke, pollen allergies, and many other ailments are more of a risk for your animal particularly during the summer.

Even if your animal is in a good state of general health, it is important to remain alert to the different health challenges that summer can bring.

A Couple of Animal Ailments Common in Summer

Sweet Itch - Affecting horses. This is an allergic reaction. Sweet itch is specifically caused by hypersensitivity to the bite of the Culicoides midge, and also occasionally to an insect from the blackfly family - Simulium Equinum.

Every equine is different - some will experience sweet itch more severely than another, and some will respond to a treatment more quickly and more effectively than how another horse, pony or donkey will.

There are a variety of complementary therapies that can be used to help manage sweet itch - find out more here

Hayfever - Allergic reactions to hay, grass and tree pollen (amongst others!) are very common in the summer months. They can cause itchy and watery eyes, runny noses, tiredness and a feeling of being unwell.

Many animals can experience pollen allergies. Including your horse, dog, cat, donkey or other animal. A pollen allergy can lead to serious eye, nose or skin irritation and discomfort. This can also mean a deterioration in performance for those horses, dogs and other animals who attend shows.

Boosting the immune system can help the body in fighting the allergens. And there are several holistic approaches which can help to do this, such as Bowen Therapy.

There are also several natural supplements that can help. My favourite natural supplement here is "Bee Pollen". Although Aloe Vera, Echinacea, Vitamin C, and many others have been found by people (and animals!) to be useful. Your Vet will be able to advise if any supplements maybe helpful for your animal.
Get more information on immune health for animals at my advice page here.

Useful Tips To Care For Your Animal This Summer

There are many ways which you can help your animal to maintain his/her good health during the summer, including consideration of:

  • Exercise

Ride your horse or walk your dog (or other animal you exercise!), earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon/evening, to help avoid the worst of the daytime heat.

Consider where you're exercising too. Tarmac can get extremely hot under foot for your dog, and so is best avoided when it's very warm and sunny.

If it's possible to find somewhere with a bit of breeze or shade, when exercising your animal. Your animal will probably be very pleased on a hot, sunny day!

Can you let your cat or other small animal out earlier in the morning or in the evening? If the days are hot, this will be more comfortable for him/her to explore out of the full sun.

If you have cattle, sheep or any other livestock. Then have they got plenty of shelter? Either from hedgerows, trees or a field shelter?

  • Transport

Plan your animal's journey. If it's possible, don't transport your animal in the car (or horsebox for a horse) in the middle of the day (12-3pm) when it's likely to be hotter. Make sure fresh water is easily available for your animal to prevent dehydration. And that the vehicle is as well-ventilated as possible (without being draughty). Don't leave your animal in a parked vehicle when the weather is warm, the vehicle will get even hotter than the outside temperature, and could prove fatal. Even having the window open may not be enough to prevent death or at least serious distress.

If your animal finds warm weather causes greater anxiety when travelling, then veterinary homeopathy such as Cocculus can help with travel sickness.

  • Fly Protection

Your horse, pony or donkey can wear a fly mask or fly fringe to help protect against flies irritating his/her face.

Natural fly relief for your animal?
  • Garlic is a herb that's thought to help repel flies. Garlic can be added to your horses feed on a daily basis (usually in powder, granules or as a liquid).
  • Essential oils can be used to help make natural fly repellents. For your horse, dog or other animal. Popular essential oils for this include, eucalyptus, basil, and thyme. To get the best remedy for your animal, speak to a qualified zoopharmacognosy practitioner or veterinary surgeon. (For help locating either, please email info @ taranet .co. uk)

Flies can also cause discomfort and serious irritation to cats, dogs and other animals too. So check your animal often (at least daily!), to make sure there are no sores or skin irritations. That flies are attracted to, or creating problems.

  • Laminitis

This can cause extreme pain and discomfort for horses, ponies and donkeys. Careful management can often help to avoid laminitic attacks.

Find out more on how a holistic approach can help in managing laminitis here at Taranet's advice page.

  • Dehydration

Beat the debilitating and serious (life threatening sometimes!) effects of lack of water and effective hydration. Many animals - including horses, dogs, cats and livestock can quickly get overheated and very ill through not consuming enough water. How sure are you that your animal is getting enough water? It maybe in hot weather your animal needs encouragement to drink - so keep your animal's water in a cool or shady spot - perhaps put some ice cubes in it, or just keep giving them fresh water. In hot weather the water can quickly go stale. It often used to be said that gently 'pinching' your animal's skin can tell if they're properly hydrated - but this is not scientific!
Of course if you're unsure if your animal is hydrated enough and has any signs of ill-health - then speak to your Veterinary Surgeon urgently for advice and/or a consultation with them!

Is your animal experiencing a summer related ailment?

As with any ailment or injury, always get your veterinary surgeon to examine and diagnose. Symptoms can be similar for many illnesses, so it's important to know what you are treating - and only your Vet can decide on this.

Many vets will now suggest complementary treatments alongside conventional medicine. If you would like help locating a vet or therapist near you who uses complementary therapies in his/her practice, then please email, as we maybe able to help.

Like a few more tips? Read these blog posts:
Or listen to my podcast for laminitis information here
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