At Abbey House Veterinary Hospital / Clinics, this time of year we often see overheated dogs, some of which are so severe that the problem can lead to seizures or even death. There are a few golden rules that may help prevent this situation.
- Walk dogs in the cooler hours only, 6-8am and 9-11pm.
- Only make emergency travel in cars with dogs. Even traveling in a car can cause heatstroke. If travel is essential try to make a plan for stops and also during cool hours
- We at Abbey House want you to enjoy the summer with your pet. Here are a few tips on things that can assist in keeping them cool.NEVER EVER leave your dog in the car. The heat inside a car can reach 35+degrees C in a very short space of time. Even 5 minutes can kill them.
- Do not leave your dog lying in the garden. If the dog becomes overheated when lying out it will not have the strength or energy to lift itself. So while you think he/she is sun bathing, in fact they just may not be able to get up and move!
- DO NOT walk on tarmac surfaces. Tarmac can heats up to 60 degrees C. This can cause severe burns to feet.
- Allow your dog to rest. Although playing and running is fun it does increase a dog’s temperature. Leave this for cooler mornings or evenings.
- Be aware that running in and out of water (paddling pool) does not necessarily mean you dog is cooling off
- Cool coats dry quickly, they only work if WET. If using one ensure it is always wet on the inside not just the outside.
- Some breeds are more susceptible to heatstroke than others.
- Cool mats can be used and sometimes just allowing them to sit on a cool tile floor rather than a bed is good for them.
- Ice pops for dogs—Freeze some water with treats inside, this encourages them to lick it.
- Frozen Kong—Freeze the Kong with treat inside ( needs some water in)
- Place paddling pool in a shaded area, to keep the water cooler.
- Make a shaded area for you dog to escape to.
- Provide a fan (safely) or a portable air con unit.
- Place ice cubes in water bowl, or even freeze a water bowl, for dog to lick.
- Wet some towels and place in freezer for a short time, lay on floor for dog.
- Never leave home with your dog and no water, even a short journey you should take water and bowl with you.
Know the signs of Heat stroke.
- Excessive and loud panting.
- Excess thirst.
- Thick Saliva.
- Vomiting/ Diarrhoea
- Red tongue but pale gums.
- Or Bluish gums (lacking oxygen supply).
- Non- responsive (Urgent)
- Seizure activity (Urgent)
What to do.
Above is just an overview of SOME, not all signs, every animal is different. If you do see/ feel any of these signs relate to your dog, then follow below.
- Get your dog into shade.
- Get cool (not cold) towels and lay over dog. Ensure you change these regularly as the heat from the dog heats the towels up quickly.
- Place one towel in-between hind legs to touch bare abdomen and legs. Wet nose and pads
- Offer water. If your dog will not drink do not force it, squirting water in could cause aspiration into lungs.
- Ring the vets and advise them you are coming. Prompt action on arrival could be the difference between life and death.