As our summer temperatures soar, many of us are wearing our shorts and vest tops. We are lucky, we can change our clothes to suit the weather, but our dogs can’t. They have their fur coats on all year round, and cannot sweat like we can to cool ourselves down – all they can do is pant. Therefore, it is down to us to do our very best to keep them as cool as we can.
Dogs die in hot cars
With many of us dashing off on our summer holidays, visiting friends or even exploring a new park, it’s always nice to take your dog along with the family. However, as tempting as it may be to stop off at the shops and nip out to get something on your journey, never leave a dog unattended in a car. Even in moderately warm weather, the temperature in a car can soar up to a dangerous and unbearable 47 degrees. If you’re unable to stay in the car in this temperature, neither should your dog.
It’s also important to be aware of opportunists who may be on the lookout for cars with their windows open on hot days. Dog theft from unattended cars has increased significantly in the past couple of years. If you know you’re not going to be able to keep an eye on your dog at all times, it may be safer for them to stay home.
Heatstroke is a very real risk to our dogs. Whilst responsible dog owners will do all they can to avoid this situation, it is worth knowing what the symptoms of heatstroke are. They include panting, dribbling, confusion, unsteady of their feet, bright red gums, collapse, seizures, and even death.
When a dog’s body overheats, it can cause damage to their vital organs which leads them to fail. Heatstroke is a life threatening situation.
If you are ever in a situation where you feel your dog has over-heated, it is important to cool them down quickly. However, you can do more harm than good if you bring the body temperature down too quickly by using ice or very cold water. Instead, the dog should be placed in a shaded area where tepid water can be dribbled over them. Attention should be given to the head, neck and groin area. If a fan can be placed near the dog, that would help too. Please contact your vet as soon as possible if you feel your dog is suffering from heatstroke.
Some dogs are at a higher risk of getting into difficulties during hot weather. These include flat-faced breeds, large heavy-coated breeds, older dogs, dogs with ongoing health conditions, and overweight dogs. But don’t be fooled into thinking that if you own a dog that doesn’t fit into any of these groups, that yours will be ok. Heatstroke can and does affect all dogs.