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It is the time of year when we all enjoy some holidays. Even your dog or cat may enjoy a few days in a kennel or cattery. It’s always important to remember that reducing stress for your pet will make their stay as pleasant as possible.

This would include providing the kennel or cattery with the pets cleaned bedding and their regular food. A full vaccination course is also essential to protect them not only while they are on holidays, but more importantly, in their every day encounters. For the cats the minimum vaccination is against cat flu and for dogs the standard 7 in 1 vaccination is very important. Another important vaccination for dogs is the Kennel cough vaccine or more correctly called 'Canine Cough'. This vaccine is important to protect dogs whether they visit kennels or not and should be given at least 3 days before entering they kennels.

Some pets will travel with us around Europe and this is facilitated by the pet passport scheme. There are some important things to remember:

Accompanied pets must have an EU Pet Passport certifying microchip identification and subsequent rabies vaccination, with first vaccination at least 21 days before travel. Dogs must also be treated for the tapeworm echinococcus.

Identification:

Pets must be identified by either microchip or a clearly readable tattoo - however the tattoo must have been applied before 3 July 2011. The date of microchipping or the date of application of the tattoo must be in the passport or on the Veterinary Certificate.

Rabies vaccination:

The date of the primary rabies vaccination must not be before the date of identification. This primary vaccination (i.e. first vaccination following identification) must have been administered at least 21 days before travel. The 21 day period does not apply to booster vaccinations.

Tick & tapeworm treatments:

Tapeworm treatment applies only to dogs - dogs must be treated not more than 5 days and not less than 1 day prior to scheduled travel. While treatment against ticks is no longer a compulsory requirement, travellers are advised, on animal and human health grounds, to avail of tick treatment for their dogs when getting the tapeworm treatment.

Visit your vet a few days prior to travel for a pre travel check and all these treatments can be administered. It will take up to a week to receive your pet passport when you first apply for it at the vets.

Any questions can be answered by your local vet or by visiting www.agriculture.gov.ie/pets/

During the summer months there is increased risk of some internal and external parasites. It is important to regularly use a good quality worm and flea treatment. Always remember that not all products are the same and it is essential to use treatments that will not only kill the adult parasite but ensure that the earlier stages of the life cycle are also disrupted.

Ticks are more common this time of year, they are usually found on long grasses and forests. They attach themselves to passing animals and feed on the pet’s blood. They cause problems in two ways, firstly they can cause reaction at the bite site and secondly they can spread diseases such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis. It is important to use the correct treatment to remove them to ensure that if they do attach that they are killed quickly. Pulling the tick out can cause severe skin reaction if the mouth parts break off. Speak to your vet about the best product for your pet.

We all like to enjoy sunbathing and our feline friends are no different. It is very important to remember that those cats with white tipped ears are at increased risk of getting sunburn and subsequent cancer in these non-pigmented areas. The best way to reduce this risk is keeping them out of the sun at the warmest part of the day and application of a waterproof sunblock during the summer months – just like ourselves! If you see changes on the ear tips of these cats then make an appointment with your vet for further investigation.

Grass seeds can get trapped in your pet’s ears and in their coat. They can become embedded in their skin and feet so it is important to examine the coat after walks to avoid this. Bees and wasps won’t differentiate between us or our pets. Always be aware of the possibility of stings if your pet becomes upset suddenly and just like us they can have a nasty reaction so prompt veterinary attention is wise.