Summer is here, and with the summer hot temperatures are arriving. We already had our first heatwave of the summer and lots of reports of pets being exposed to and affected by the heat. There are even reports from BC that pets died because of heat exposure/heat stroke.
Now, we cannot change the weather (and to be honest, I enjoy the heat more than the deep freeze), but we can change the way we are helping our pets through the heat spells if needed.
The major considerations are to keep pets out of the heat. Walk them in the early morning or late at night, otherwise keep them indoors, in the coolest place possible. Not everyone has air conditioning, but shade and a fan go a long way. Misting with water also can help. Always make fresh water available. Especially short-nosed breeds like bulldogs, pugs, and relatives are heat sensitive. Because of their short noses and smaller airways, it is more difficult for them to regulate their body temperature (which in dogs is accomplished by panting, thus eliminating heat through the airways). Excessive panting in hot conditions indicates that the dog is too hot!
A lot of people will provide a kid’s pool for dogs to wade or swim in – excellent, a lot of dogs will enjoy this, but make sure the water is clean!
When walking, make sure that concrete or asphalt (or any other surface) is not hot to the touch. Our pets are barefoot, and even the toughest foot pads can be damaged by heat. Burns on the feet are no fun!
Sometimes it is better to leave your pet at home. Car rides can be especially challenging in these temperatures, and of course, we all know never to leave the pet in a car by themselves, not even for a very shortstop.
Signs of overheating are: panting, drooling, gums turning from pink to red, tiredness, unresponsiveness, even seizures. If in doubt, call your veterinarian. However, prevention is always better!
Have a safe summer everyone!
By Dr. Susanne Krägeloh