We must all be aware how to avoid heat stroke in our pets as it can be fatal and remember DOGS DIE IN HOT CARS!
Dogs, unlike humans, do not sweat except from their foot pads and therefore do not tolerate high environmental temperatures like us. They use panting to exchange warm for cold air cooling them down and if the air temperature is close to that of the body this process is inefficient. If they get too hot they can then suffer heat stroke which can be rapidly fatal so there are a few signs to look for.
SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE
- Heavy panting
- Drooling thick saliva
- Red gums/tongue turning grey
- Rapid pulse
These symptoms will quickly lead to coma and death so to avoid this you must be aware of situations that make your pet susceptible.
- In a car (even with the windows open and when it’s not that warm it can reach 50oC in minutes acting like an oven)
- In a glass conservatory
- Exercise in hot, humid weather (try to walk them early or late in the day)
- Animal already suffering heart or lung diseases
- Muzzles that prevent panting
- High fever/seizures
- Animal confined on concrete/asphalt surfaces
- No access to shade or water
- Previous history of heat stroke
- Short nosed breeds such as pugs, bulldogs etc…, old/young dogs, long haired breeds
If your dog has heat stroke it is important to get them out of the source of heat and then gradually cool them down.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PET HAS HEAT STROKE
- Shower them with cool water and if possible place in a breeze or by a fan. Never use very cold water as this could cause shock or make the body temperature even higher. Continue this until breathing settles but stop before shivering starts
- Allow them to drink small amounts of water at a time
- Once cooled take to the vets immediately as although out of current danger there can be lasting effects so they require examination and possible treatment
Also remember that under the ‘Animal Welfare Act’ you have a legal duty to care for your animal and if you put them at risk you could face prosecution and have to live with your actions resulting in suffering of your animal so be sensible on sunny days and we can all enjoy the summer sunshine!