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Keep Cool and Carry On This Summer

Keep Cool Header

Whilst our current weather may not scream summer, it’s the time of year when we do see pets affected by the heat. Generally, it’s not that people are unaware of the consequences, more that we underestimate them. There are a number of potential health conditions prevalent during the summer months.

One of the most common consequences of hot weather is heatstroke.

What are the signs of heatstroke?

There are varying signs of heatstroke. Generally, you should look out for:

  • Excessive panting
  • Very red gums
  • Salivation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Convulsions
  • Collapse

Some dog breeds, especially Brachycephalic (short nosed) such as Pugs or Boxers, are particularly susceptible to breathing problems and heatstroke.

Older and younger animals, as well as those who might be carrying extra weight, are also more likely to be affected by hot weather.

We normally associate heatstroke with dogs, but please be aware that cats and small furries can suffer from heatstroke too. Persian cats may be more susceptible than other breeds.

Dealing with heatstroke:

If your pet is affected, it’s very important that you seek urgent veterinary attention for them – head to your nearest vet as time is very much of the essence.

You should get your pet into a shaded area or close to a fan and offer them ice cubes to lick, or water to drink (but don’t force anything down them).

Use towels, etc. soaked with tepid/cool water on your dog but not icy water as this can send them into shock.

It’s important that your pet sees a vet even if you believe them to have been only mildly affected by the heat as heatstroke can affect the brain and their internal organs.

Dogs and hot cars:

“But I was only a few minutes…”

A dog can die in a hot car in as little as twenty minutes - the amount of time it takes to watch a quarter of a game of rugby, to pop to the shops for some milk or have a quick bath.

The temperature in a car can rise incredibly quickly and leaving a window open will make very little difference. It doesn’t even have to be that hot to be potentially fatal.

It’s not just cars, either. Make sure that animals are not shut outside with no shade or left in caravans or conservatories as these can have the same effect as being in a car.

What should I do if I see a dog shut in a car on a hot day?

Please call the Police or the RSPCA's 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

Avoiding heatstroke and other summer tips:

  • Try and keep long-haired breeds clipped in the warmer months
  • Carry water and a bowl around with you
  • Avoid the hottest parts of the day when walking your pet (and remember that pavements can feel incredibly hot on paws!)
  • Allow pets freedom to move where possible so they can remove themselves from unpleasantly hot rooms.
  • Our pets can get sunburnt, especially if they have light coloured fur – ask your vet for advice on purchasing a pet-safe sun cream
  • If you take your pet on holiday with you, make sure you know where your nearest vet is in case of an emergency

If you would like any advice or have any concerns regarding caring for your pets in the summer, please use our online practice finder to call your local Medivet practice.

Posted May 10, 2016 in Seasonal Care

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