The warmer weather can be an enjoyable time for both you and your pet, however you need to be aware of the risks hot days can bring.
What To Do With Your Pets On A Hot Day
Conditions such as heatstroke can be easily prevented by taking precautionary measures on a hot day. Follow these steps to ensure your pet is kept safe:
- Take your dog for walks early in the morning or late evening when the temperature is cooler.
- Never leave your pet in the car, even with the windows open.
- Ask a neighbour to check on your pet if they are kept outside.
- Use fans to increase air circulation.
- Add ice cubes to the water so it is nice and cold.
- Cover rabbits or guinea pig cages with a wet towel and put them in the shade.
- If you think your pet has been stung, bathe the area in cold water, try to remove any stingers you can see if possible.
- Wet your pet with a hose pipe if they are panting heavily.
- Spray small animals with a fine mist of water.
- Keep your pet inside when possible.
- Provide two bowls of water in case one gets knocked over.
- Make sure your pet has a shaded area to escape to.
- When barbecuing, keep your pet away from leftover bones or other foods that would get stuck in the digestive tract.
- Provide your pet with a paddling pool to cool off in
What To Do If You Suspect Heatstroke
If you suspect that your pet has heatstroke, follow these three steps:
- Hose down your pet thoroughly so that their panting slows down and to prevent their body temperature rising further.
- Call your vet to tel them that you are on your way. Immediate veterinary attention is recommended.
- In the car, keep your air conditioning on or your windows down, to keep your pet cool.
At the vets, treatment may include any of the following:
- Intravenous fluids
- Blood test (to determine if any organs have been damaged)
Severe cases can have a significant risk of death and may require hospitalisation.
Symptoms Of Heatstroke
If your pet is displaying any of these signs, follow the instructions above and call your vet.
- Heavy panting and raspy breath.
- Skin feels warmer than usual.
- Anxious expression or staring appearance.
- Elevated rectal temperature.
- Collapsing, stumbling or falling down.
- Open mouth breathing.
- Lying flat on cool services.
- Bright red gums.
What Heatstroke Can Do To Your Pet
Severe cases of heatstroke can affect your pet in a number of ways, the most common being:
- Organ failure – if the body reaches 43C.
- Brain damage – in severe cases this may be permanent.
- Bleeding disorders.
- Ulceration of the stomach and intestines.
- Kidney damage or failure.
- Lung damage.
- Liver damage or failure .
- Muscle damage – if heatstroke is associated with exercise or seizures.
- Swelling up of the airways.
Which Types Of Pet Are Most Susceptible To Heatstroke?
All pets can suffer form heatstroke, but some type are more susceptible than others:
- Dogs that exercise excessively in hot weather.
- Short snout breeds.
- Pets that have recently relocated to hotter climates.
- Cats with shortened faces like the Persian.
- Elderly or ill pets.
- Pets with heart conditions.
- Pets that have suffered from heatstroke before.
- Caged pets that are unable to seek cooler environments.
- Overweight pets.
Your Pets Are More Likely To Get Heatstroke Than You
There are many reasons why your pet is more likely to suffer form heatstroke than you or you children.
- They can’t ask for a drink or tell you when they are thirsty.
- Dogs can’t sweat – the only way they can cool down is by panting.
- Your pet (especially dogs) are often so eager to please they won’t stop until their body can’t take it any more.