Giffnock Vets share how to keep rabbits cool during summer

Due to their thick covering of fur, rising temperatures can become dangerous for rabbits as summer approaches. Rabbits can easily overheat and develop life-threatening gut problems or disease with these seasonal changes. Do not panic, the team at Rouken Glen Vets are here to help you learn how to prepare your small furry pets for the warmer months ahead.

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Rabbit checklist for dealing with rising temperatures

A big problem for rabbits during summer is overheating. Here are some ways to reduce that risk:

  • Position the hutch in the shade – if outdoors, maybe think about creating a burrow (that they cannot escape from) to help them mimic their natural ‘wild’ behaviours.
  • Rabbits do require some time in the sun during the day to get the vitamin D they need for digestion – give them short amounts of supervised time outdoors with shaded areas.
  • Make sure their water bowl/bottle is filled up with fresh water more regularly.
  • Wrap an ice pack or a 2-litre drink bottle of frozen water in a towel for them to lean on.
  • Provide a cooler space to lie on such as a cooling mat or a cold tile.
  • Use water in a misting spray bottle on their ears to cool them down – never soak them as this could put them at risk of respiratory problems if they catch a chill.
  • Make sure their hutch is well-ventilated – a fan can be used but avoid pointing it directly at your bunnies and make sure they have enough space to move away from it if they want to.
  • Give frozen veggies as a cooling treat.

The signs of heat stroke in rabbits include:

  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Disorientation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Head tossing
  • Red or hot ears
  • Seizures or a coma

If your rabbits are suffering from heat stroke, do not submerge them in water or leave them unattended for long periods of time. Dampen their fur, offer them cool water, and call our Rouken Glen Road vet practice right away for advice on 0141 620 2580.

Despite the warmer weather during spring and summer, there can still be cold spells, so make sure there is extra insulation and bedding if required. In addition, spring grass (which is high in sugars) can cause gut issues in your rabbits, so gradually introduce them to this within their feed.

Summer rabbit diseases

Another topic of concern is disease. During warmer months, the risk of diseases such as flystrike, myxomatosis, and VHD (Viral Haemorrhage Disease), as well as parasite infections increases. You can significantly reduce the risks with optimal hutch hygiene and the correct vaccinations. If you are concerned about any of these, contact us right away on 0141 620 2580 to book a rabbit check-up.

A great way to reduce both the risk of overheating and disease is grooming. Brushing can help to remove some of their thicker winter fur and any debris, which will help to cool them down. If your rabbits have long fur that needs a trim, it is wise to consider using a professional groomer for this as a rabbit’s skin is quite thin and easily damaged.

Should I bathe my rabbit to cool or clean them?

Rabbits tend to keep themselves meticulously clean. If your rabbit gets extremely dirty and needs some help, spot cleaning is the safest method. If they get hot, it is best to follow the advice above. Being bathed could frighten your rabbit, leading to injury from thrashing about. Also, they could catch a chill and suffer from pneumonia, respiratory infections, hypothermia, and other life-threatening health conditions. If your rabbit is struggling to clean themselves or you spot urine or faeces on their fur, contact our veterinary team as soon as possible as they may be at risk of
flystrike.

We hope our tips on how to keep rabbits cool and healthy in summer will help you have a happy and trouble-free season with them in East Renfrewshire.

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7 ways to prep your cat for summer

People often think about how to look after their dogs in the summer months but may not think they need to do anything different for their feline friends. Our Giffnock Vet Nurses are here to tell you why it is just as important to make sure your cat is prepared for summer. Get stuck into their summer prep list for cats below.

Did you know May is Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month? Why not share why your pets love our Vet Nurses on our Facebook page? If you include the hashtag #VNAM on your post, you can help to spread the word about our fantastic nursing team.

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How to ensure a happy summer for your cat

1. Summer cat health check

A lot can happen for pets in six months or a year, which is why it’s a good idea to get your cat checked by one of our Vets in Giffnock in time for summer. A cat check will help to put your mind at rest, and it enables the Vet to make sure your cat is in good health for the hot season ahead and treat any ailments.

2. Parasite control for cats

Parasite control is very important as more cats will be roaming around East Renfrewshire during the summer, encountering more species and more parasites! When is a good time to check your cat for fleas? When you are grooming them, which brings us nicely to…

3. Feline grooming

Our Giffnock Vet Nurses advise that cat grooming is important ahead of the summer months, especially for long-haired cats. There is no need to shave cats but if they have thick fur, regular brushing can ensure their coat is not as dense, which will keep them cooler.

4. Holiday cat sitter

Making holiday plans is high on most people’s to-do-list at the beginning of summer, but don’t forget to organise your cat’s holiday care. This could be a live-in or drop-in service, or a visit to the cattery. Either way, it is important to ensure whoever is responsible for your cat while you are away is adequately insured and qualified to do so. If your cat is staying at a cattery, they will need to be fully vaccinated and you will need to take their up-to-date vaccination certificate with you. Book your cat’s booster vaccination now.

5. Cats and heat

When thinking about the heat, it is important to protect cats. You should ensure they have plenty of access to water bowls, shade, hiding places away from the sun, and encourage them to stay indoors during the hotter times of the day. Cats can get heat stroke just like dogs, so be sure to keep an eye on them.

6. Cat ‘traps’

Our Vet Nurses warn owners to be extra vigilant in making sure their cat comes back every day. Cats seem to have a habit of getting themselves trapped in sheds, garages, and other outbuildings that may have been left open during the day. Ask people in your local area to check their outbuildings if your cat is missing.

7. Update your cat’s microchip details

Ensure your contact information that is connected to your cat’s microchip is up-to-date. This will give you peace of mind that if your cat wanders off in the warmer weather and gets taken to a vet practice, they are identifiable. If your cat has not been microchipped yet, give us a call on 0141 620 2580 and our team can book that in for you.

Is your cat due for a booster? Our team can check and book for you – contact us.

We hope you found our Veterinary Nurses’ advice helpful and are ready to get started with your cat’s summer prep. If your pet has a favourite Nurse, or two, pop over to our Facebook page and share it for #VNAM – Visit Rouken Glen Vets’ Facebook page.

If you need to book your cat’s health check, vaccinations, microchip, or anything else, we are here to help.

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13 dog bite prevention tips for kids and adults

Dog bite prevention week is recognised in many countries between April & May each year to bring attention to the risk of dog bites and share preventative advice. In this article, the team from Rouken Glen Vets are sharing important tips and resources to help East Renfrewshire residents prevent dog bites in children and adults.

April 1st – May 2nd is also National Pet Month, in which responsible pet ownership is the theme and a perfect backdrop for this article’s topic.

Download our Dog Safety Quiz

13 tips for preventing dog bites

Most dog bites don’t come from dogs who are deemed ‘aggressive’, they occur in the home with family dogs or dogs who are well known. Pets who are described by their owners as placid, loving, and “wouldn’t hurt a fly” can all snap and bite if they feel agitated, threatened, frightened, vulnerable, unwell, or in pain.

As well as the obvious physical injury, a dog bite can cause complex psychological issues. If a dog bites a child (or lunges at them) especially, they can develop a long-term fear of all dogs. Dogs can ‘learn’ that this behaviour is needed to stop the action that is bothering them. This is a real shame as children and dogs can both benefit from forming a close bond together.

Therefore, it is advisable to practice these 13 do’s & don’ts of dog interactions:

  1. Do choose the right dog breed for your family and home setup – remember, all cute puppies grow into adult dogs with big teeth
  2. Do ensure your puppy’s (or older dog’s if you missed this stage) socialisation experiences include being around children
  3. Do train your pet from a puppy into adulthood on how to be well-mannered in the home and out & about
  4. Don’t use fear to train a dog as this is harmful and can lead to unwanted reactions in everyday situations
  5. Don’t assume your dog won’t bite just because you perceive it not to be in their nature
  6. Don’t leave children alone with dogs
  7. Do teach children from a young age how to behave around dogs, including not playing aggressive games with them, pulling their ears or tail, or anything else that may agitate them
  8. Do act calm around dogs, especially if they are unfamiliar to you
  9. Do supervise children feeding or walking a dog
  10. Don’t let your child discipline a dog
  11. Don’t invade a dog’s space without their permission – let them come to you (avoid letting young children hug & kiss dogs)
  12. Do teach children to always ask the owner’s permission to stroke their dog and where the dog likes to be stroked
  13. Don’t allow your child to approach a dog in someone else’s garden or car

 

Socialisation & training

Socialisation should ideally be started around 8 – 16 weeks of age, when a puppy’s brain is like a sponge absorbing all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, experiences, and opportunities to learn that they can. Most older dogs can be socialised too with a little more time and patience.

Socialisation and training (into adulthood) are not about obedience. They are about building confidence and developing clear communication with your dog. If your dog understands your request and how to respond to it and has self-confidence, they are less likely to get fearful or frustrated, which are both common causes of dog bites.

Ask our Giffnock nurses for puppy socialisation advice on our Facebook page here

Learn how to be safe around dogs

The team from Rouken Glen Vets recommend these helpful resources below to help your whole family become smarter and safer around dogs.

First, take our Dog Safety Quiz to test how much your family members currently know.

Then, work through these Dogs Trust resources and get everyone to re-take our Quiz.

Remember, don’t give the answers away until after retaking the quiz!

Let us know how you got on by sharing your results on our Facebook page.

Download our Dog Safety Quiz

Is your cat suffering from hay fever in East Renfrewshire?

So, can cats have hay fever?

It is one of the most common illnesses in cats, yet many East Renfrewshire owners are not aware of it. Hay fever, at its worst during spring and summer, does in fact plague both humans and animals alike.

At Rouken Glen Vets in Giffnock, we have seen many cats with a grass or tree pollen allergy. It affects the skin more than it does the sinuses and can make your pet chronically ill. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help…

Book a cat hay fever consult

1. Be aware of cat hay fever symptoms

Excessive licking and scratching are signs that are often associated with fleas, but they can also be brought on by an allergic reaction to pollen. This can make the skin, ears, and bottom very irritable and itchy. Plus, if your cat has bald patches around the lower back, groin, tail, or paws, there is a high chance they are suffering from hay fever.

2. Check for fleas

So that you do not confuse hay fever with fleas, Rouken Glen Vets’ nurses recommend that you should check your pet’s fur for flea dirt. You should also ensure your cat is up to date with their preventative parasite treatments. Most spot-on pipettes and tablets need to be given monthly.

Not sure if your cat is up to date? Call our team on 0141 620 2580 and we can help.

3. Treatment of cat hay fever

If you are concerned your cat may have an allergy, book an appointment to see one of our Vets. We can run tests to help pinpoint the problem and, if needed, subscribe treatments such as antihistamines and anti-allergy vaccines.

Important: Never give your cat human medicines unless instructed by your Vet as only some are safe for cats and dosages will differ.

4. Preventative measures?

It is hard to avoid pollens, as many hay fever sufferers in East Renfrewshire will know. Sometimes even staying indoors to avoid pollens can still be miserable and forcing your cat to stay in can damage their health in other ways. In addition to anti-allergy injections or antihistamines, here are some other ways to help your cat beat hay fever:

  • Evening primrose oil can be effective in reducing a reaction – drop into your cat’s food or directly into their mouth, or on their nose to lick off
  • Wash your hands before and after handling your cat to reduce the transference of pollen
  • Wipe your cat’s fur when they come inside with a damp (but not soaking) cloth to remove some of the pollen
  • If your cat is willing, an occasional bath can help to remove pollen from their fur

If you would like more advice on cat hay fever or wish to book an appointment if your cat is suffering, give us a call and we will be happy to help.

Contact us about cat hay fever

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