Whilst we are enjoying this beautiful weather (it was hot when writing this!) it is important to be aware of the affects that the change in temperature can have on your animals. Most people are aware of the risk to dogs left in cars on sunny days, but please think of all pets as the weather gets warmer; cars are not the only dangerous places.
FACT: Dogs ONLY have sweat glands in the pads of their feet. However the most important heat-losing process is panting. The breathing becomes rapid and short, the mouth is opened and the tongue becomes enlarged and reddened as its blood supply is increased. Panting is an extremely effective process of heat loss, but it uses large amounts of water, which is why it’s essential that dogs have access to plenty of fresh water in hot weather.
Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs
- Panting (most obvious sign)
- Increased pulse rate
- Standing still and/or looking anxious
- Feel hot to the touch
- Fitting, Vomiting and diarrhoea may occur
- The dog may enter a coma and this could result in death.
How to treat heat stroke
- Remove the dog from the overheated situation – get into the shade and out of the sun
- The dog should then be immediately immersed in a bath of cold water for ten minutes. If this is not possible, soak the dog with cold water either from a hose or using a bucket
- The skin should be massaged vigorously, and the legs flexed and extended, to maximise the blood flow to skin and limbs
- A soaked blanket or towel should then be placed over the dog and the owners should rush the dog to The Vet as soon as possible (after a 10 minute cold bath)
- The Vet will be able to give other treatment to bring the temperature back to normal Prevention: Important rules for dogs in hot weather to prevent heat stroke
- Never leave a dog alone in a car Be aware of keeping your dog cool when on car journeys together e.g. leave a window open for fresh air and stop regularly to check your animal properly
- Always ensure a plentiful supply of drinking water
- Never leave a dog in a sunny place with no shade
- Give long haired dogs a short clip
- Exercise the dog out of the heat i.e. morning or evening. Be mindful that the hottest parts of the day for us are magnified for dogs by the fact that they are wearing a large thick coat and can only sweat through their paws
- Take your dog for a cool swim rather than a walk
- Give the meals at cooler times of the day e.g. morning and evening
- Carry water with you when out on hot days, and give your dog frequent small amounts
If the dog is not treated, the body temperature will continue to rise until the dog collapses and becomes visually impaired.
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