Apart from overheating, what are the summer issues for dogs? Podcast from Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show

In this week’s podcast, we discuss the common issue of summer gastroenteritis in dogs, and we also look at the various pet care options for pet owners who are going on holiday. To listen, follow the link at the foot of this post.

gastroenteritis in dogs during hot weather spells

During spells of hot weather, bacteria and fungi multiply far more rapidly, and that means that dogs are more likely to eat decomposing substances that upset their digestive systems. Vets see a surge in cases of dogs with severe gastroenteritis, sometimes even with blood being passed:so-called Haemorrhagic Gastro Enteritis (HGE).

So the rule of thumb is that it is safest not to let your dog eat random stuff when you are out on walks. Ideally, teach them the “leave it” command so that you can shout at them to drop something if they pick something off when off the leash

There is also an issue about blue-green algae in stagnant water. When the algae blooms, it can give look like a blue-green scum has appeared on the surface of the water. It sometimes looks a bit like pea soup. Blooms of the organisms often build up around the edges of ponds and lakes, which may look like foam. It is most common in static bodies of fresh water such as lakes and ponds during warm weather when there is less rainfall. You may even notice dead fish at the edges of ponds or lakes with a high concentration of the toxic bacteria. Never let your dog swim in water of this type.

Also, a simple rule:  don’t let your dog drink from water containing dead animals.

Holiday care for pets

When you go on holiday, how will you care for your pets?

1) Friends and family

A neighbour, a friend, or family may be able to help with pet care, especially if you have an independent minded cat, or an easy-to-care-for dog.

2) Taking your pet with you

Dog friendly activities are more available than ever before: see here for some Irish options, with similar websites for other countries.

If planning to visit UK, Europe or further afield,  a pet passport is needed for dogs and cats, with rabies vaccinations given at least 3 weeks before you leave.

3) Boarding kennels

A good boarding kennel is often a good option for reliable care of your pet.

a) Plan as far as possible in advance
b) Check that your pets’ vaccines are up to date, especially for Kennel Cough.

Many countries – such as the UK – have strict government-run licensing systems for boarding kennels and catteries, but in Ireland, anybody can set up a boarding facility. Boarding kennels may be run in sheds, garages and private back yards. There is one established benchmark of quality, set up by the Irish Boarding Kennel and Cattery Association: members must comply with the IBKCA Code of Ethics. You can find a list of the kennels and catteries that are members of this association on their website.

4) Pet and house sitters via the internet

a) Pet sitting websites such as www.housemydog.com connect pet owners with dog-loving members of the public who are happy to mind pets in their own home.
This works well for dog-loving members of the public who want to earn some cash by minding pets, and for dog owners who are looking for an alternative to boarding kennels.

b)  For pet owners who have more than one dog, rather than leaving them to be cared in someone else’s house, why not get a pet sitter to come to live in your own home while you are away? You can arrange this informally with a friend or relative, or you can employ a professional pet and house sitter.

The Trustedhousesitters.com website offers an novel option that can allow you to have your animals cared for in your own home  “for free”.
You allow pet sitters to live in your home while you are away, and in return they care for your pets.

The website also works well if you are a pet lover seeking a good value holiday. Visit the website and search through a range of properties around the world with pets that need minded. You can stay there for free in return for some dog walking and cat minding duties. I’ve done this several times in past years with my own family, and I can testify that it can work exceptionally well: you are living in the community, in a real person’s home, rather than being a tourist in a set-apart facility.

Questions from listeners about pets

  • My dog is scratching his belly and biting his paws and his belly is very red and he breaks skin. The vet said it is a seasonal allergy and I have started him on a tablet to take daily after taking a course of steroids twice already. Is there anything else I can do to help him to give him relief? The tablet does not seem to be working yet. He is a JRX 3 years old. Thank you Aine Walsh
  • I have a 12 year old wire haired pointer who is really struggling with this heat . What temperature is the cut off point for exercising a dog of this age ? He weighs 26 kilos, is not overweight and is otherwise healthy Thanks Jules.
  • I have a 4 yr old female dog who has always been nervous & I recently got a 10 week old puppy. The pup constantly chases & annoys the older one & has even commandeered her bed forcing her to sleep in our bedroom as we feel sorry for her. Any suggestions on how they can become pals or will this happen naturally? Thanks ,Conor, Tallaght
  • My 12 year old dog is on furosemide twice daily. She’s doing ok but a bit breathless. She has a heart murmur, fluid on heart and lungs. It sounds serious! Mary
  • I have an 8 month retriever/mini poodle cross. She’s prone to colitis . I have her on a raw food diet and it has sorted her colitis problem immediately and completely. What are the downsides of a raw food diets?

To find out the answers, click on the play button below.

Pete also did a Facebook Live video after the show, answering more questions from listeners: to watch, see here and here.

Listen to the podcast:

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