Helping hot dogsPosted on: 09 July 2018 by 50connect editorial
Remember not to leave your pet in the car, or anywhere else that could be too hot. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe and healthy in hot weather.
Caring pet owners probably already know how dangerous it is to leave their dog in the car. However, pets left outdoors on hot summer days can also be in serious danger.
Dogs should be kept indoors, or only be left outdoors for short periods, where they should have sufficient water and a cool, shaded place out of direct sun. Walking dogs early morning or evening when it is cooler is advisable, especially if the dog will be walking on paving.
Dogs may have pads on their feet but walking on paving (and even sand at the beach) in hot weather can burn their paws. If you are in doubt about whether the ground is too hot for your dog, place the back of your hand against the paving - if it is painful for you, so will it be for your dog!
RSPCA offer these tell tale signs of burned pads:
- limping or refusing to walk
- licking or chewing at the feet
- pads darker in colour
- missing part of pad
- blisters or redness
It is not just humans who are susceptible to sun burn. Dogs with pale skin are also likely to be burnt if exposed to too much direct sunlight so you should consider protecting their noses and ears.
If you're used to letting your dog accompany you, don't feel guilty leaving your pet behind on hot summer days. Your dog will be much happier and safer at home, with shade and plenty of fresh cool water.
You should never leave your pet in any vehicle during summer no matter how little time you intend to be away. Animals’ fur coats retain heat and they cannot sweat like humans, so they suffer more quickly from heat stress. They cool themselves by panting and releasing heat through their paws, but on summer days the hot air and upholstery in a vehicle can make it impossible for pets to cool down.
Temperatures inside a parked car can rapidly reach dangerous levels even on relatively mild days, even if the car is parked in the shade with the windows slightly open. In just minutes, the temperature in a parked car can climb to well over 38 degrees Centigrade. Even a short time in a hot environment can be life-threatening. A dog’s normal body temperature is 39°C, and within ten minutes of it reaching 41°C irreparable brain damage or even death can occur.
People with dogs should be alert to symptoms of heatstroke, which include:
- A rapid or erratic pulse.
- Rapid breathing or struggling for breath.
- Exaggerated panting or the sudden stopping of panting.
- Excessive drooling, dark red gums, vomiting.
- Barking or whining.
- Anxiety or agitation.
- A vacant expression.
- Listlessness or weakness.
- Shaking or seizures.
- Collapse or unconsciousness.
Animals showing these signs need immediate medical treatment, so take the dog to a vet as soon as possible.
What to do
If your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, you should do the following:
- Move the animal to a shady place.
- Wet the animal with cool but not cold water, to reduce heat gradually.
- Fan the dog vigorously to promote evaporation, cool the blood and reduce the animal's temperature.
- Allow the dog to drink some cool water, or if none is available even licking ice-cream can help.
Take the dog to a vet at earliest opportunity so it can be checked and treated for dehydration and any other problems.
It's not just dogs that are on the move during summer. Pet owners also travel with cats, birds and even horses and these can get heat stress as well. Make sure you take care of your furry or feathered travelling companions. When you stop and revive give them a long drink of cool water and a break too.
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