For many people, summer is their favourite time of year, the weather is warmer and the sun is shining (well for about a week in Worcester if we're lucky) but it's not such fun for our Pets.
Overheating can lead to a range of issues, including; Sun stroke, Heat exhaustion, Dehydration, Burns, Respiratory complications and in extreme cases, it can lead to death.
Heat stroke occurs when animals are no longer able to regulate their temperature, which causes their body temperature to rise dangerously.
There are two types of heat stroke.
The first occurs during exercise and is much more common on hot sunny days when pets haven’t had a chance to acclimatise to the sudden rise in heat. Animals can take up to 60 days to acclimatise to significant changes in temperature, which isn’t ideal in the UK as the weather tends to change from day to day and us Brits are quick to head outdoors when the sun is shining.
The second type is when an animal is exposed to a rise in temperature but doesn’t have access to the ventilation, or drinking water, to keep themselves cool. This is the type that affects dogs locked in parked cars, cats trapped in sheds/garages or any animal in a very hot room with little or no ventilation and shade.
The signs of Heat Stroke
- Faster, heavier panting
- Barking, whining or signs of agitation
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive drooling
- Increased pulse and heartbeat
- Dark-coloured (red or purple) gums or tongue
- Glassy eyes
- Elevated body temperature (104ºF and up)
- Staggering, weakness or collapse
What to do if you suspect Heat Stroke
If you are worried that your pet may be affected call us immediately on 01905 355938, the quicker your pet is treated, the more effective treatment will be and the better their chance of recovery.
Once at the clinic, the usual treatment will be to gradually cool your pet down and to replace lost fluids with a drip to prevent dehydration. It's important to speak to the vet before trying to treat your pet at home, the vet may instruct you to begin cooling your pet down during the journey to the practice, but you should not do anything unless advised so by the vet. Cooling your pet down too rapidly can have a negative effect and your pet could go into shock, so DO NOT immerse your pet into cold water suddenly.
Keeping your pet cool
Here are some simple ways to keep your pet cool and prevent over-doing it during hot spells;
- Restrict exercise on hot days - why not try alternatives like hydrotherapy? Brentknoll Vets have our own pools; perfect for burning off some energy without the fear of overheating.
- Never leave pets in hot rooms or sun traps without adequate ventilation - conservatories and patio doors allow the sun to flood into a room, but they can also intensify the heat and turn your room into an oven.
- Avoid long car journeys - unless your pet needs to come with you and get in the car, it's a good idea to leave them at home where it's cool and safe. Try to stick to shorter journeys and ensure the car is cool before they get in, if you're winding windows down - ensure your dog can't jump out and is safe and secure.
- Make sure they have access to a cool shaded place - animals will often sunbathe and this is fine for short periods but they need to have somewhere to cool off afterwards.
- Always ensure they have plenty of water - this should go without saying but ensure they have fresh drinking water and keep it topped up. Dogs may even enjoy a paddling pool of water to cool down in!
- Walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening - tarmac pavements can be hot enough to fry an egg on in the sun; if you can't stand bare foot on the floo,r then your dog shouldn't be either. Where possible, choose shaded paths and go at the coolest parts of the day (remember to take water with you).
- Spray your dog with cool water - a wet coat will keep your dog cool but on a hot day, it will quickly dry out. There are a number of cool mats and cool jackets available, they are designed to be soaked and then keep your dog cool by evaporation, remember to keep it wet though or it will do the opposite and add to the heat problem.
- Never leave your pet in a parked car on a hot day - temperatures in a car soar VERY quickly and even a window left ajar isn't enough to prevent it turning into an oven. So whilst you 'pop into the shops' your pet could overheat and it could be fatal.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE IN A PARKED CAR, NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE -
A MINUTE COULD BE TOO LONG!