Avoiding Heat Stress.
Over the summer holiday period we spend a lot of time out and about in the sun with our pets. However, too much sun can cause severe damage and heat stress to our furry friends. To ensure that our pets are well looked after during the summer months we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heat stress and follow these guidelines to keep your hot dog as cool as a cat!
Symptoms of Heat Stress
Heat stress can be a killer. If you pet is overheated you may notice the following symptoms:
- Appear initially excited but then appear to lose their balance
- Muscle tremors and spasms (can lead to seizures)
- Collapsing and lying down
- Increased heart rate
- Excessive panting
If your pet is affected by heat stress emergency first aid is vital and you will need to get them to a vet quickly. While contacting your vet cool your pet by placing it in a room temperature water bath or by hosing it down. Next, place your pet in front of a fan and apply ice packs to its head.
As always, it is better to prepare your pets for the hotter weather and prevent them from getting heat stress than to have to treat them for it later. Follow the guidelines below to keep your pets cool this summer!
Cool Walks and Exercise
You don’t want to overheat your dog by exercising during the hottest part of the day so walk your dog early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Also opt for walking in a park instead of on the road, as hot bitumen may burn your dog’s paws. Be careful not to over-exercise your pets during the summer months and on extremely hot day keep them indoors.
We all know that ice blocks are the perfect cold treat for a hot summer’s day and guess what? Your pets will love them too! Freeze some ice cubes in a tray overnight and add them to your dog’s water bowl in the morning for a frozen treat that your dogs will love. Remember, when temperatures soar, you pets can dehydrate very quickly. So make sure they always have plenty of water to drink.
To escape direct sunlight, make sure your pets have access to plenty of shade, such as a kennel or shade tent. Smaller animals, such as rabbits, birds and guinea pigs are vulnerable to heat stress. Make sure their hutch or cage is in a shady and well-ventilated area. Keep them cool by placing a frozen water bottle in their cage. They can rest their bodies against it to keep themselves cool.
Fighting the Fur
Getting your pets clipped for summer will help them keep cool, especially if your pet has a long or a thick coat. Leave them with at least a centimetre of fur so they have some natural protection against the sun. Also use a shredding brush, such as Grip soft Brushes for Dogs and Grip soft Brushes for Cats to regularly to remove unwanted hair. Remember, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet!
Steven Perissinotto is a passionate pet lover and a pet health professional. Since establishing Vet Shop Online with his veterinary surgeon brother in 1999, Steven has helped establish the business in to one of the world’s leading online retailer of frontline plus for dogs.