Orchard Vet's Blog

Summer Hazards for Cats and Dogs


We want you and your pet to enjoy your summer time together - so here's a few things to be aware of this year to make sure there are no unnecessary trips to the vets!


Warm, sunny days are lovely, but too much heat can be extremely dangerous for our canine companions – especially for flat faced breeds or overweight dogs. Cats are much better at keeping themselves cool However, if your feline is fluffy, or flat-faced, they might find it more challenging to stay cool. During hot weather, it’s important to give your doggy plenty of shade and water to drink, and make sure they go for walkies during the cooler times in the day. Never walk your dog during the hottest parts of the day and never leave them in a confined space for any length of time. Always check before closing up any enclosed spaces such as sheds, greenhouses and conservatories, just in case a curious cat has snuck in for a nap!


Cats and dogs can get sunburn too! Any exposed skin on your dogs’ body is at risk, while cats’ noses, ear tips and eyelids are at particular risk. While fur protects most of your companions’ body, those with white fur may need to be a little more careful on those glorious sunny days. Make sure you protect your pet with a pet-safe sunscreen paying particular attention to any exposed skin on their ears, nose, tummy and legs.


It’s not just us that enjoy the warmer weather – bugs and parasites thrive too, which is why you’re much more likely to find a tick attached to your pooch or kitty in the summer months. Ticks are unlikely to cause any problems if they are removed quickly and properly, but some carry diseases such as ‘Lyme disease’ which can cause illness in dogs. One way to protect your pooch from ticks is to stick to paths and open areas without long grass. After a day exploring, always give your cat a quick check to make sure they haven’t picked up any little critters on their travels.

Insect bites and stings

Wasp whacking, bee biting, and horse fly hounding is a dog’s idea of a good time, while cats practice their natural predatory instincts by catching flying insects. However, unfortunately for them, it often ends in a sting! Whether it’s their paw or their mouth, the sting site is likely to become red, swollen and painful. If you think your dog or cat has been bitten or stung, contact us for advice. Most stings aren’t serious, but if your pet is allergic, swelling rapidly, or their breathing is affected, it’s important to act quickly!

Snake bites

Our feline friends tend to be cautious around snakes so are unlikely to get bitten. However, dogs are curious creatures and often explore the world with a nose-first approach, which can result in a bite if they come across a sunbathing snake! Luckily, two out of the three species of snake in the UK are non-venomous, but if your curious canine disturbs an adder, the outcome is likely to be a bit more serious. Adders are venomous, which means their bite can cause serious illness – if your doggy is bitten you should contact us immediately.

Blue green algae

Swimming is one of the joys of warm weather and is a great way to cool your pup down, but it’s important to check the water is safe before you let your pooch dip their paws. Blue green algae is a dangerous bacteria that grows in stagnant water during warm weather. It’s important to know how to recognise blue green algae because it can be deadly if it’s swallowed, and it’s not always obvious unless you know what you’re looking for.

Pavements & roads

Asphalt can reach temperatures of 52C on warm days – this is enough to severely burn dogs paws in a matter or minutes. Test the temperature of the ground out by placing the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds – if you struggle to hold your hand down it’s too hot to walk your dog!


Dogs often ingest sand by accident through digging or picking up sandy toys. Sand can cause a blockage in the intestine. Limit games of fetch on the beach and make sure you have plenty of fresh water on hand to keep your dog hydrated.

Salt Water

Dogs that swim in the sea may inadvertently drink a lot of salt water. This can cause vomiting and, in more serious cases, fits, kidney failure and even death. If at the beach, limit how long you allow your dog to swim in the sea and make sure you have plenty of fresh water on hand to give them afterwards.

Plants & Flowers

Several flowers and plants that are popular in the summer can be fatal to dogs including poppies, clematis, peony, foxglove, geranium, chrysanthemum and yew. Keep a close eye on your dog in the garden to make sure they aren’t eating anything they shouldn’t! Peonies, tulips and lilies can be harmful to your cat if eaten, so be aware of what’s in any bouquet you buy to brighten up your home.

Slug & Snail Pellets

Slug and snail pellets can cause severe poisoning in cats and dogs within an hour of being swallowed. Avoid using any products containing metaldehyde and scatter any pellets you do use sporadically. If you think your pet may have ingested slug pellets contact us immediately as clinical signs can start in as little as 30 minutes.


Barbeque related incidents, such as swallowing kebab skewers, eating cooked bones and burn injuries can be avoided by keeping raw and cooked food out of reach, and making sure your dog is under supervision one the barbeque is lit.