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Advice for animal owners as temperature rises

17 July 2014

The States Vet has advised Islanders looking after livestock and pets to be aware of the dangers posed by warm weather.

Overheating in cars or while exercising, and contracting fly strike are among the health and welfare risks animals face in the summer.

States Veterinary Officer Linda Lowseck has advised that if people are travelling with their animals, they plan ahead to avoid overheating by trying to travel in the early morning or evening.

People are also advised against leaving animals alone in vehicles. Mrs Lowseck said that leaving car windows open and a bowl of water is not enough. Dogs cool down through their tongue and paw pads and can't react quickly enough to cope with the rapidly rising heat inside a car.

British Veterinary Association advice

Simple steps to keep dogs safe in warm weather from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) include the following:

  • Don't leave dogs in vehicles
  • Make sure they always have adequate water to drink
  • Provide adequate ventilation at all times
  • Avoid exercising dogs in the heat of the day
  • Provide shade from the sun in the hottest part of the day
  • Watch out for early signs of heatstroke, such as heavy panting
  • Contact a vet immediately if the animal does not respond to efforts to cool it down.

Mrs Lowseck says dog owners should be aware of the risks of heatstroke when walking their animals – especially in older dogs or those with respiratory problems.

Fly strike

Fly strike is also a risk in warmer weather. It affects mainly rabbits and sheep but it can affect other animals. Flies are typically attracted by soiled fur or wool where they lay eggs which hatch into maggots on the animal.

The maggots can cause horrible damage by eating through skin and flesh causing pain and death. Keeping animals and their housing clean can help prevent the condition.

Islanders can ask their vet about how to spot these problems and are advised to check animals' bodies every day so they immediately notice when something is wrong. It is particularly important to thoroughly check animals in warm weather when flies are active.

Extra care

Mrs Lowseck has asked people to take extra care: "In warmer summer temperatures, everyone with responsibility for animals is reminded to be especially vigilant about fly strike and to be sure their animals always have a plentiful supply of clean drinking water which animals can easily access."

Download leaflet Protecting the welfare of pet dogs and cats during journeys: Advice for owners (size 1.89MB)


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