23rd November 2018
Many people don't think about it, but dogs can suffer heatstroke just like us, although for them it's usually quite detrimental as owners don't realise until the dog is showing severe signs. We're coming into summer and with high temperatures set for the weekend we want to make people aware of the dangers of heatstroke. Dogs don't have the ability to sweat like we do, they eliminate heat by panting. When panting isn’t enough, a dog’s body temperature rises and this can be fatal if not corrected quickly.
Please consider what you can handle on a hot day as many people just chuck the dog in the back of the ute, where it’s completely exposed to the sun and the hot surface of the vehicle. Also consider when you walk your dog that the ground will be hot and they don’t wear shoes! If you can’t stand barefoot on a surface for more than a few seconds then your pet shouldn’t be exposed to it either.
The most common cause of heatstroke is a careless action by a pet owner, such as leaving a dog in a car, walking or running the dog on a hot day, forgetting to provide water and shade to pets that are outdoors. Some dogs are more prone to developing heat exhaustion, especially dogs that are older, have thick fur, are overweight or brachycephalic (Pugs, Bulldogs and other flat-faced breeds).
Physical Symptoms of Heatstroke:
Signs of discomfort
Unable or unwilling to move around
More severe signs:
Loss of consciousness
If you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke seek immediate veterinary attention. Remove the dog from the hot environment immediately and place a wet towel over the dog, keep wetting the towel, alternate between two towels as they can absorb heat from the dog. If the dog is conscious allow it to drink water at its own pace do not force it. If the dog is unconscious hold its head above the water and do not pour water down its mouth as it can go into its lungs. On your way to the vet travel with the windows open and the air conditioner on.
Heatstroke in dogs can cause unseen problems, such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding and abnormal clotting of blood.
Ways to prevent heatstroke: Avoid exercising or working your dog in hot, humid conditions. Never leave your dog in a car with the windows closed, even if the car is parked in the shade. Avoid driving around with your dog in the back of the ute. When outdoors, always make sure your dog has access to plenty of water and shady spots. Where possible keep your dog inside in air-conditioning.