At last we have the arrival of the sun and much warmer weather. In the heat, humans tend to wear lighter or fewer items of clothing. Spare a thought for your canine friend who wears a permanent fur coat! In the warmer weather dogs can overheat and become very ill with Heatstroke.
WHAT IS HEATSTROKE?
Heatstroke or nonpyrogenic hyperthermia ( a temperature not caused by a fever) occurs when dogs can no longer self – regulate and keep their body temperature at a normal level. This can occur in dogs which are completely healthy.
A dogs fur coat is brilliant at keeping a dog warm in the colder weather but in the warmer months it can make a dog very uncomfortable.
Dogs can only sweat through their paws and try to eliminate heat by panting. Unfortunately some dogs are more prone to Heatstroke than others, for example, dogs which are overweight, older/younger dogs, short nosed dogs (brachycephalic) and any suffering from any medical conditions. These dogs particularly should be monitored closely in the heat.
CAUSES OF HEATSTROKE
Left in a hot vehicle
No access to shade
No access to water
Being exercised in the heat
Inadequate cooling off after exercise
Being kept near areas which reflect the heat
SYMPTOMS OF HEATSTROKE
Body temperature of 40oc plus
Drooling ( sticky/thick salvia)
Little or no weeing
Signs of discomfort
The dog may also suffer from, seizures, muscle tremors and eventually unconsciousness
HOW TO TREAT HEATSTROKE
Remove the dog from the heat source immediately and call a vet
Apply cool (not cold) water to the dogs paws, chest and mouth area. Wetting a towel/blanket and allowing the dog to sit or lay on it is better than covering a dog with a wet towel or blanket as this may eventually dry out and trap heat.
Placing the dog in front of a fan can help as long as this isn’t put on full speed!
Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water
Transport to a vet asap
Make sure the vehicle you are travelling in isn’t too hot potentially raising the dogs temperature again
Remember: PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
TOP TIPS TO KEEP YOUR DOG COOL IN THE WARMER WEATHER
Fill a Kong and put this in the freezer for a while, this will definitely be a cool treat!
Add ice cubes to drinking water
Provide plenty of shade if outdoors even in your own garden
Beware, if your dog lives outdoors, dog kennels can become a heat trap
Provide access to water at all times
Only walk your dog at the beginning and end of the day when it is cooler
Remember the pavement rule: if you place the back of your hand on the tarmac for 5 seconds and it is too hot for you then it is too hot for your dog
A small paddling pool can provide great fun for your dog as well as keeping him or her cool
Fruits and vegetables can make great healthy and inexpensive treats for your dog in the warmer weather
Try the following:
Carrots – contains vitamins A,C, potassium and fibre. Washed. Frozen whole carrots are great for your dogs to chew on and help cool them down. These are also great for teething puppies.
Apples – a healthy treat containing many anti – oxidants and fibre. Core the apple and remove the stem and pips, slice then freeze.
Bananas – contains vitamins, minerals and fibre. Peel, slice and freeze.