Summer fun for pets

pic Richard Ponter 160619
pic Richard Ponter 160619

Summer fun isn’t limited to humans, pets can enjoy the season too, so vets have compiled a list of summer activities and UK destinations designed to help owners give their pets a summer of fun.

In Wales dogs can tackle Snowdon, explore caves in Pembrokeshire and visit one of the UK’s best dog-friendly beaches, while in England they can ride the railway through Somerset, camp at a historical site and cruise around the Lake District on a boat.

Northern Ireland offers pooches a doggy fun park, sand dunes for exploring and a pet-friendly tea room to unwind in, whilst in Scotland, dogs can participate in a dog jog, trek along the West Highland Way and kayak down the sea trail off the Isle of Gigha.

Vets4Pets put together the advice after working with the likes of Visit Scotland to promote a wide variety of exciting and fun-filled activities from all over the UK, for both dog and owner to enjoy together.

Louise Purves, corporate press officer at VisitScotland, said: “We know how popular Scotland can be as a holiday destination for families and their pets, as analysis of searches on our website found there was 95 per cent more interest in pet-related searches compared to searches for romantic holidays.

“Pets and their owners are welcome at many places across the country and it’s great to be able to highlight the variety of activities and venues available for them.

“There are hundreds of incredible walks with breathtaking scenery from all over Scotland for local, or visiting dog owners, to choose from and enjoy with their beloved pet, and we wanted to celebrate and promote them through this list.

“But there are also numerous hotels, guesthouses, beaches, parks, lochs and much more for pets to enjoy with their owners in Scotland.”

Research shows that almost a third of holidaymakers base their trip on how suitable the destination is for their pet.

Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “While it’s mainly dog owners that take their pets away on holiday – whether caravanning, camping or staying in a pet-friendly hotel – we’ve also compiled advice for rabbit and cat owners, particularly when their pets are in and around the garden.

“We’re delighted to be able to work with VisitScotland and they have helped us provide a flavour of what pets can enjoy this summer.”

Among Vets4Pets’ activity ideas are also paddle boarding with your dog, a restaurant with a menu for pets, and advice on helping cats and rabbits join in the fun too.

In Scotland, there is an innovative way to showcase these kinds of fun activities available throughout the summer.

Louise said: “To encourage more people to enjoy the beautiful Scottish countryside, we launched a search to find a canine ambassador or ‘Ambassadog’; a pup who could represent the spirit of Scotland around the world.

“Our Ambassadog is a golden retriever called George, and he and his owner have the job of showcasing destinations, venues and activities in Scotland via social media and at events.

“By working with Vets4Pets we’ve been able to demonstrate what is available to help pets enjoy the summer fun, and we hope everyone uses Vets4Pets’ advice to go out and enjoy these places and activities throughout summer.”

While vets want pets to have fun this summer, heatstroke, pesky parasites and open water can all pose dangers to them.

Dr Stacey said: “While we want pet owners to help their dog, cat or rabbit experience the same enjoyment humans do in summer, it’s also important to make sure they stay healthy and safe.

“High temperatures can mean roads, pavements and sand can become too hot for sensitive paws to walk on.

“Smaller pets, like rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs, also need to be kept cool, so their cages need to be moved away from direct sunlight into a shaded area of the garden or house.

“Owners must also remember to never leave their pet in a car, conservatory or caravan even for a minute on a warm or hot day. Even if it only feels mild outside, the temperature inside can reach up to 40 degrees in minutes.

“However, pet owners only need to take just a few precautions to help ensure their pets safely enjoy themselves this summer.

“More information and top tips on summer safety can all be found on our website,”