Heat Stroke: Keeping Your Pet Safe On Hot Days

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Hot summer days, heat waves and humidity. Some like it, some love it and then there are some that can’t wait for the snow to start falling again.
No matter which category you may fall into, our pets require close attention in the summer. Animals can easily and quickly succumb to the effects of the heat without us even realizing it’s about to happen.
So what can you do to help ensure your pet stays heat safe this, and every summer?

What type of dog is most likely affected?
Brachycephalic or flat faced pets such as Pugs, Boxers and Persian cats are at a higher risk simply due to their facial structure. With the shortening of the nose, they are more likely to experience the effects of the heat as they aren’t able to pant as well as other animals. Keep a close eye on their breathing as an increase in their respiratory rate could indicate the start of a problem. This isn’t to say that all other dog or cat breeds can’t be affected by overheating, so no matter the type of pet you have, always keep a close eye on them in the heat of the summer.

Long-haired dogs can also pose a bit of a challenge, especially if they have had their fur shaved. Yes, I said that right! Long-haired dogs should never be shaved in the summer.
Their bodies are able to thermoregulate their temperature with their long fur acting as a type of insulator. It helps keep them stay protected from the heat, so when it’s shaved off, they aren’t able to acclimate to the heat the way they could with fur.

What should I do to help avoid heat stroke?
Give your pet access to fresh cool water at all times! If you are going for a walk, take a bottle, if you are in the backyard, bring out a dish, whatever the scenario, water should always be available. Ice cubes can be fun for them to play with in their bowl too.
Some dogs love swimming and will seek it out whenever possible. If that is the case, and as long as they are safe, let them swim! However, if your pet doesn’t love going in the water, don’t force it. Some dogs are happy to simply wade in up to their belly and then stop, that’s okay too!

If your pets are outdoors, try to keep them in the shade as much as possible. It’s amazing how cool a patch of grass in the shade can be. Try to keep your pets away from asphalt as much as possible. Your pet is close to the ground and asphalt reflects a lot of heat, intensifying what your pet is feeling. This also causes a potential for sensitive paws to burn.

Try to exercise your pet during the cooler times of day, such as early morning or in the evenings. If this is not possible, then be sure to limit the amount and intensity of the daytime exercise if it’s being done between noon and 6 pm.

Signs of Heat stroke:
 Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
 Increased heart rate and respiratory rate
 Drooling
 Mild weakness
 Feeling warm to the touch
 lethargy

More severe signs could include the above plus:
 Collapse
 Seizures
 Bloody diarrhea
 Vomiting

What should I do if I think my pet is suffering heat stroke?
 removed your pet from the heat – take to a shady spot or an air-conditioned room, carry them if possible
 offer cool water to drink, do not give ice cold water
 soak down if possible with cool water. Do not submerge the pet.
 Take immediately to a veterinarian

Keeping your pet indoors during the summer isn’t fun for us or them.  Both you and your pet can enjoy a safe summer outdoors by following just a few simple steps.

We at Woodbine Animal Clinic, wish you and your pet a safe and fun summer.

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