Helping Your Dog Beat the Heat This Summer

Did you know that animals can get heat stroke, just like people? With this summers record temperatures, it’s an even greater risk than usual. Find out how to keep your pet from becoming a casualty of this summer’s soaring temperatures.

It’s here – summertime! And this year it’s not just summertime – it’s SUMMERTIME! With a vengeance!

Sydney recently posted the highest temperature ever recorded in the city’s history, a wilting 45.8 degrees. And the average temperature for all of Australia recently hit 40.33 degrees – the hottest day recorded in more than a century. In other words, it’s HOT!

Most everyone knows that hot weather can be dangerous. Heat stroke and hyperthermia claim human victims every summer. And the hotter the temperatures, of course, the greater the risks.

So take care to keep your cool this summer. But also remember to take care of your pets, because the heat can be fatal for them as well. According to Dr. Steven Ferguson of the Australian Veterinary Association, “Pets are just as susceptible to heat-related illness as humans.”

So while you’re surviving this sizzling summer, make sure that your pets are surviving as well.

TIPS FOR HELPING KEEP YOU PET COOL

Here are 10 tips from the AVA for keeping your pet safe and comfy through this scorching summertime season:

  • Keep plenty of water available for your pet at all times. Make sure the water is cool and fresh, and keep it in the shade.
  • Put out multiple bowls of water on really hot days. Use bowls that can’t be tipped, and place them in a shady and (relatively!) cool spot.
  • Older pets are even more susceptible to the heat, so keep a special eye on them. Watch for indications that they are having trouble breathing.
  • Dogs tend to enjoy sitting in the sun. But lots of time spent in the sun can cause heat stroke and increase the risk of skin cancers. So be sure to provide a shady area for your dog at all times.
  • Help your dog cool off with a kid’s paddling pool. Put just a couple of inches of water in it, and place it in a shady location.
  • Add a few cubes of ice to your pets’ water bowls. They’ll enjoy it, and it will help to keep their body temperature down;
  • If your pets can’t be in an air-conditioned area, consider placing a fan where it will blow on them.
  • Exercise your pets only in the early morning or late evening. Avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Freeze some treats and give them to your pets. It will keep them busy for a while and help cool them down.
  • Some longhaired dogs will benefit from a trim. Check with your vet.

SIGNS OF DANGER

Keep an eye on your pets during particularly hot spells; watch for indications that they are having difficulty with the heat.

Dogs. Signs that your dog is in distress due to heat include vomiting or drooling, fatigue, heavy panting or obvious difficulty breathing, diarrhea, or seizures.

Treatment:

    • Check the dog’s rectal temperature every 10 minutes and continue the treatment until the temperature falls below 39 degrees.
    • If the dog’s temperature is below 40 degrees, moving the dog into a cooler environment may be sufficient.
    • If the dog’s temperature is higher that 40:
      • Spray the dog with water, or immerse in cool (not cold) water.
      • You can also apply cool packs to the groin area, and wipe its paws with cool water.

Even if you believe your pet has suffered from only a mild case of heat stroke, and you feel you’ve treated it successfully, you should still get your pet to a vet. Heat stroke can potentially cause serious internal problems that may not become obvious for some time, possibly even until days after the event.

STAY COOL

Summer is the time for lots of fun activities, but it’s also a time of potential danger, for both you and your pets. So take care of yourself, take care of your pets, stay cool – and have fun!