The longest day of the year passed last weekend at the summer solstice.
High summer is a glorious time, but for those of us caring for pets, it brings a new set of
troubles we need to watch out for.
I have already taken my first grass awn of the year out of a dog’s ear canal.
Grass awns have barbs, specifically designed to catch on to animal fur. This makes them
sharp and very irritating, and mechanically capable of becoming embedded into their skin.
Inside a sensitive ear, they cause intense discomfort.
There is not much a dog walker can do to prevent their best friend from picking one of these
up, except to keep the fur trimmed short – not easy for some in the current situation – and to
choose walks away from ripe grass.
Meanwhile we all need to avoid locking our pets into situations where they cannot escape
the heat. This includes hot cars, but also conservatories and areas with artificial grass which
can get very hot. And not insisting on a walk without checking the temperature of the
pavement. We have seen some burnt pads already this year.
If you are firing up the barbecue, please don’t include your pet. The type of fatty food that we
love to cook outside can set off pancreatitis in cats or dogs, and the bones can be a choking
Be aware that your household pet may foolishly attempt to lick the hot coals to get at the spilt
fat, causing horrible damage to their mouths, so be sure to keep them away until the BBQ
has cooled down completely.
Meanwhile, flies are coming into their own and looking for places to lay their eggs. If you
have pet rabbits, this is the time to protect them from maggots.
Ensure their hutches are squeaky clean. Maintain a twice daily check on the genital area,
removing any soiling immediately, and consider bringing the hutch indoors, or covering it
with net curtains to exclude the flies. You can also speak to your vet about products that