Dogs are more susceptible to heat stress than humans as they can’t sweat and often have coats that are not suited to warmer climates.
Brachycephalic breeds (dogs with short snouts such as pugs, bulldogs, staffies) are particularly inclined to overheat and then develop breathing difficulties. Dogs will try to run and fetch no matter what, so they rely on us to keep them from overdoing it on hot days.
Here are some tips to help keep your dog cool this summer:
• Avoid exercise entirely on very hot days (like today), or limit to cooler parts of the days. Walk rather than run and provide water breaks;
• Ensure your pet has access to fresh drinking water inside and outside the house (ensure they are placed in a shady spot if outside and consider placing an extra bowl or two if you are leaving the house);
• Add some ice to water bowls;
• Keep fans or air conditioning on if inside;
• Ensure your pet has access to shade when outside, and the freedom to move into shaded areas;
• Use an elevated dog bed such as a trampoline bed;
• Never leave your dog in the car, even for 5 minutes, the temperature inside a car can increase rapidly to fatal temperatures;
• Freeze water bottles, wrap them in a tea towel and place them near pet resting areas.
SIGNS OF HEAT STRESS IN YOUR PET
Being aware of signs of heatstroke may allow you to act quickly and prevent internal organ damage. These signs may include:
• Excessive panting progressing to respiratory distress;
• Drooling, salivation;
• Very red or very pale gums;
• Vomiting and/or diarrhea;
• Restlessness, delirium, agitation;
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR PET HAS HEAT STRESS
If you are concerned that your pet is suffering from heat stress, remove your pet from the hot environment, spray him or her with cool water onto the skin and fan to maximize heat loss and take him into your nearest veterinarian as soon as possible.
Feel free to call us at VetHQ on (02) 9326 1255 (Double Bay) or (02) 9358 2566 (Darlinghurst) if you’d like any further information.