With the hotter weather just around the corner now is the perfect time to start preparing for how you will keep your furry friend cool this summer.
An increase in body temperature due to external factors (unlike a fever) is often referred to as heat stress or heat stroke. Generally we see most of our overheated emergency cases in summer when the weather is warmer (and often humid in Sydney). Most cases occur when animals are left in cars, exercised on hot days or left outside with inadequate shade. Other factors that can make animals more prone include if they are overweight or obese, if they are a flat-faced or brachycephalic breed (such as a pug or French Bulldog), if they have existing health issues (such as heart or respiratory disease) or if they are dehydrated.
Symptoms to watch out for include excessive panting, restlessness, staggering or ‘dizziness,’ bright red or pale gums, vomiting, mental confusion or even muscle tremors and seizures. If your pet develops heat stroke, this can be a potentially fatal condition and veterinary attention should be sought immediately. First-aid measures can include removing your pet from the hot environment, ceasing any exercise and applying cool water to your pets’ skin (not iced water or ice packs).
So what can you do to help reduce the chance of your pet getting too hot this summer? As with all things – prevention is better than cure! Ensure your pets have access to a cool and well-ventilated space at all times (especially important for dogs as they rely on panting to cool-down), access to cool fresh water and avoid exercising your dogs when the weather is warm – especially the hottest parts of the day. It is also important to remember that asphalt and concrete can cause significant burns to your pets’ paws so always check the temperature of the ground prior to taking your pet out. If your pet has any pre-disposing factors have a chat with your vet about strategies that may help prevent them becoming overheated (such as weight-loss or different exercise regimes).
With these strategies in place you can help keep your pet happy and safe this summer.
Written by Dr Amelia Bunker
Pictured: Ralph the Kelpie!
Posted on 11 December 2018
Last updated on 11 December 2019
Tagged with: summer