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Heat and How It Hurts

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Summer is upon us and statistics show that too many dogs become victims of heat and die at this time of year. Below are some common-sense tips to make sure your beloved best friend stays safe and cool this summer.

  • NEVER leave your pet in an enclosed space. This means any space from cars, sheds or garages, even if you leave the windows open, remember it is not enough as they can very quickly become hot enough to cause heatstroke.
  • ALWAYS make sure there is plenty of fresh clean water available. If you are not going to be home for a long period of time, make sure that there are multiple sources of water, just in case one is knocked over or runs out.
  • KEEP your dog in a cool and shaded environment.
  • CIRCULATE air with a fan or ideally an air conditioner.
  • DON’T leave food in direct sun exposure for long.
  • DON’T go for long walks or over exercise your dog. Stick to early mornings and late evenings, or change it up and go to a local swimming hole, beach or creek for a cool exercise change. Just remember roads, sand and other similar surfaces can get extremely hot and burn your dog’s sensitive paw pads – a good rule of thumb is to test the ground with your bare feet first, if it’s too hot for you, it’s way too hot for them.

Did you know?

  • Dogs pant instead of perspire.
  • Dogs have higher internal temperatures than humans.
  • Young, overweight and older dogs are more prone to heatstroke.
  • Dogs can also get sunburned if they spend too long in the sun

How can you tell if your pet is experiencing heatstroke?

  • Relentless panting, shallow breathing
  • Drooling, salivating
  • Glazed eyes
  • Bright red tongue, very red or pale gums
  • Excessive panting
  • Fainting
  • Seizures, muscle tremors
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Unsteadiness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Coma

So what can you do if you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke?

  • Immediately work at cooling your dog down by spraying cool (not cold) water on them, or wrapping in cool damp towels in front of a fan or fanning them yourself.
  • Don’t put them in an ice bath as this can have a reverse effect.
  • Get on the phone with your veterinarian and seek immediate professional help.

For more info visit the RSPCA Australia website

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