By Kate Tilmouth
We are all used to seeing the many advertisements on our televisions about protecting ourselves and our children from the summer sun, but do we ever think about protecting our pets? Probably not. However cats and dogs can get sun burnt too and with the same terrible consequences that causes, including the possibility of skin cancer.
Cats who are outside a lot during the summer, especially those with light coloured fur are particularly at risk from the effects of the sun and the heat. So before we let our pets outside on a summer’s day we must make sure we provide adequate care for them, just as we would for our children and ourselves.
Areas particularly at risk on your pets are their ears. They often have a much lighter covering of fur and this makes them much more likely to burn in the sun. Add this to the fact that cats will often spend hours laying in the sun and the risks of skin cancer rise dramatically. Often in Mediterranean countries you will often see a lot of cats with both their ears missing. This is because that the region receives a lot of hot sunny weather and skin cancer on cats has become so common that owners will often ask the vet to remove the cats ears to reduce the risk of them catching skin cancer. Another method used is to have the ears tattooed all over in black; this helps to reflect the sun and provides protection.
Of course there are other simpler methods to protect your pet from the effects of the sun. Simply remember when you let your pet out on a hot summers day, make sure you rub a high factor sun cream onto the ears and areas which are not as covered with a thick layer of fur. Some breeds have a very thin covering of fur all over, and it might be safer to keep these breeds inside on very hot sunny days.
Also make sure that you provide plenty of fresh water for your pet which is readily available all through the day. Perhaps have several bowls of water dotted about the garden in a cool spot. Of course making sure that there are plenty of shady places that your pet can keep cool is essential. The affects of heat stroke can come on very fast and if not treated promptly can be fatal. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stroke i.e. is panting very heavily and seems to be wobbly on their legs and disorientated. Cool them down immediately in a bath of cool water and then take them immediately to a vet.
All of the above are quite simple and affective steps, which will protect your pet during the summer months. A little time and thought could save both you and your pet any suffering and will ensure that summertime is enjoyed by every member of your family.
More cat health and cat care tips can be found at our site http://www.our-happy-cat.com A feline friendly community full of helpful advice and fun things to do to make sure you have a happy cat and a happy you.
Copyright 2007 Kate Tilmouth
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