Heatstroke. Can You Prevent, Spot And Treat It?
It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the temperatures are raising rapidly. Here in The Canary Islands the temperatures are heading into the low 30’s now and Pepe is hiding from the sun. Under the dining table or inside on the cool tiles are his favourite places for this time of year. Heatstroke or Hyperthermia in dogs can occur very quickly so it’s time to check how we are looking after our pet Fido’s in the heat.
Heatstroke is extremely serious but is also really easy to avoid by taking some simple measures to protect them. We must know what to do and what not to do if Hyperthermia does strike. Dogs only have sweat glands in their paws and their nose and their cooling systems are not as efficient as ours. There are certain dogs that are more susceptible to heatstroke than others.
- Puppies upto 6 months old
- Large dogs over 7 years old and small dogs over 14 years old
- Overweight dogs
- Heavy coated dogs in hot geological locations
- Bull dogs, pugs and all other Brachycephalic (short or flat nosed) breeds
Take a travel water bottle with you whilst you are out and about! These lick bottles are ideal and come in 3 different sizes.
How To Avoid Heatstroke
- The obvious but I have to say it! Don’t leave them in the car, even for 2 minutes, even with the windows open, not even with a bowl of water. Nothing more to say!
- Keep daily walks to early in the morning and later in the evenings. Avoid Fido exercising between 11am – 5pm when the sun is at its hottest.
- A wooden or plastic dog house in the garden is not the answer. These can get very hot due to lack of air circulation particularly the plastic ones. Shade provided by a fabric canopy/bed or tree shade are much better options.
- Leave the air-conditioning or fan running if your pet is in the house. If you leave windows open think about security of both your dog and your property. Incidents of “High Rise” Syndrome (pets falling from windows above 1st floor) rise drastically during summer months. Remember that conservatories, orangeries or garden rooms get very hot – do not leave your pet in here even with the ceiling fan running.
- Have a paddling pool or baby bath of water in the garden for them to play in or cool down in. Swimming pool water is not at all good for dogs – drinking chemicals – not a great idea so supervision around the pool is a must. Not all dogs are naturally good swimmers and a dog looking for water to drink or cool in could be in danger from a swimming pool.
- Keep your walking to grass areas rather than asphalt or concrete. These absorb heat during the day, aside from the danger of burning paws, dogs are closer to the ground than us and through their undersides quickly absorb the heat radiating from hot surfaces.
- Avoid hot sand on the beaches. If you do go to the beach on a hot day make sure you remove all the sand as soon as possible as sand will slow down your pets cooling process. A little tip for removing sand is talc – use baby powder on the sand and it brushes right off.
- Keep you dog well groomed. A tangle free coat helps keep them cool.
These dog walking bags come with all the accessories you will need to keep your dog hydrated on days out and walks!
The Symptoms Of Heat Stroke
No matter how careful we are there can always be the one occasion that our dog may suffer from heatstroke. Most dogs will recover from mild to moderate heatstroke quite easily and quickly with no lasting side effects. We do not all have a pet thermometer or feel skilled enough to use one. However hyperthermia is when body temperature reaches 103f/39c. We must know what to look for and act very quickly with the aim to reduce their temperature within 10-15 minutes.
- Excess panting
- Glazed eyes
- Rapid heartbeat and breathing difficulties
- Excessive thirst
- Check the skin on the back of their neck, if pulled up it should fall back quickly, like the skin on the back of your hand
- Fever, dizziness and a lack of coordination
- Excessive saliva and a red or purple tongue
- In extreme cases seizure and unconsciousness
A covered bed that you can put out in the garden to provide shade is a great idea!
What To Do Next?
- A cool shower, cool bath and also placing cool wet towels on their body. Not cold, this can induce shock.
- Small frequent drinks of cool (not ice cold) water with a pinch of salt therefore replacing minerals lost in excessive panting.
- Allow them to lick ice cubes but do not place ice cubes on their body.
- Don’t be tempted to give your dog your sport or electrolyte drinks. They may contain Xylitol that is poisonous to dogs.
- If they do not want to drink let them eat some watermelon, apple, carrots too or drink chicken broth.
- The Vet – in all cases. A trip to the vet is important as your pet will need checks for secondary complications such as kidney failure, abnormal blood pressure levels, blood clotting issues (this is a common after effect of hyperthermia) and electrolyte levels.
Now you have this Really Useful knowledge, we are all being super vigilant keeping our precious friends cool and happy too we can all enjoy our summer.
See You Again Soon!!!