Your summer pet queries answered

The sunny days and longer evenings are welcome, but how can you keep your four-legged friend healthy over the summer months? The experts at vetfone™ have answered your most common pet questions.

    Published:30 November 2023

    How can I protect my cat from the sun? He loves sunbathing!

    It’s great that you’re thinking about how to protect your cat from the sun, as too much sun exposure can be harmful. Make sure their food, water, litter trays, toys and comfortable resting places are all available in shady areas to encourage them to stay out of the sun. If you’re concerned about sun damage to their ears (which can be a particular problem for white cats), talk to your vet who can recommend a cat-friendly sunscreen to protect them from UV rays.

      Our puppy keeps chewing the kids’ plastic toys, is this harmful?

      This could be harmful for a few reasons. Firstly, if small pieces of plastic are swallowed, they can get stuck in the digestive system, which needs immediate attention from a vet. Secondly, if chewed over time then plastic toys can become sharp and brittle, which could damage your puppy’s teeth and gums. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to keep your children’s toys out of reach and encourage your puppy to play with an appropriate, safe toy.

        What’s the best way to treat an insect bite on a cat?

        As we know ourselves, insect bites and stings can be really sore and uncomfortable. As first aid, you can apply a cool compress to the area if your cat will tolerate it. It’s important not to apply any creams or ointments made for humans, as some of these can be harmful to your pet. If you have Tesco Bank Pet Insurance, you can call vetfone™ and the team will be able to advise you on what to do next.

          Any advice on preventing grass seed injuries in dogs?

          Avoiding areas of long grass, wherever possible, will help to prevent your dog from being exposed to grass seeds. Where you can’t avoid these areas, keeping your dog on a lead can help to reduce their activity and therefore the number of grass seeds that they dislodge while passing through. Check your dog over thoroughly when you get home and remove any grass seeds that you find. Remember to check between their feet pads and around their ears as well. Look out for small puncture wounds on your dog’s paws, legs and body, which could be a sign of a penetrating grass seed. Also, be on the lookout for any sudden shaking of their head or scratching at their ears. If you think your dog has a grass seed injury, it’s best to seek expert advice straight away.

            Is it okay to keep my cat indoors on a hot day? She always wants to explore

            Keeping your cat (or dog) indoors on a hot day can help to keep them safe from dehydration, heatstroke and sunburn. It’s also important to make sure that the inside of your home remains as cool as possible. Cool vests and mats are popular choices to keep your pet more comfortable. As most cats are keen to explore, try keeping them inside during the hottest part of the day (from 11am until 3pm). Make sure they have plenty of opportunity to play with toys and engage in activities throughout the day, to keep them content and occupied.

              Do I need to go to the vets if my dog has a minor cut on their pad?

              Even minor cuts to paw pads can be painful and are at risk of infection, so it’s important to have these checked. Nurses at vetfone™ can assess your dog's wound via video call and provide safe and appropriate advice (service available with Tesco Bank Pet Insurance).

                We’re taking our dog on holiday. What basic first aid should I take?

                Before you go, make sure you have the details for a local veterinary practice, just in case of an emergency. To provide basic first aid you might want to pack non-absorbent dressings, sterile gauze, cotton wool, adhesive tape, a bandage, blunt-ended scissors, and sterile saline. It can also be helpful to take a tick remover, nail clippers and tweezers.

                  Expert advice available 24/7

                  Vetfone™ is a 24/7 unlimited, free telephone or video call service that provides expert advice from nurses qualified with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need reassurance on grooming, feeding or general advice, vetfone™ is there to help. Vetfone™ is provided at no additional cost with all Tesco Bank Pet Insurance policies.

                  You can call the vetfone™ freephone* number on 0800 197 4949. *Standard network charges apply. Mobiles may be higher. Please check with your operator.

                    Important information

                    Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd. vetfone™ is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.

                    The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to the subject matter but does not constitute expert advice specific to your own situation. All facts and figures were correct at the time of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.

                        Related articles

                        Pets and holidays

                        How to help your pet in hot weather

                        Exercising your pet