Summer Pet Care
We still have many more hot and humid days ahead of us, here are a few tips to keep our pets safe and healthy through the summer
Pets in cars
Never leave your pet in the car, even if it feels cool outside. The sun can raise the temperature inside your car to 50 degrees C in a few minutes, even with the windows rolled down.
We don’t have to be Einstein to know that we shouldn’t exercise our dogs in the midday heat. Chose the coolest times of the day, early morning or late afternoon, keep it at a gentle pace, keep it short and a keen eye on their body language for any signs of panting or tiring, if this happens it’s time to stop. Be mindful of throwing balls in the warmer weather, remember you keep throwing, they’ll keep fetching and don’t forget pavements, tarmac and sand can become incredibly hot in the summer.
Animals pant to rid themselves of excess heat. Air moves through the nasal passage which picks up the excess heat from the body it is then expelled through the mouth taking the extra heat along with it. This is a very efficient way to control body heat but it is severely hampered in a humid climate such as we experience in areas of Queensland or when an animal is confined in close quarters. Keep this in mind when exercising your dog.
Pets always need access to plenty of fresh water but more so during the summer, the same as we do. Make sure bowls are washed regularly and placed in the shade if they are outside, I couldn’t imagine anything worse than drinking warm water from a slimy bowl. Freezing ice cream containers full of water to leave with your pets is a fantastic idea, they cost nothing to produce and the water will stay cold longer. Pop a couple of treats in the water before you freeze it, this will give your dog something to keep them occupied and encourage them to drink. Greenies are great for this.
Pets need sunscreen too especially if they have light skin and hair. Your pet can get sunburned even with all that hair and fur and can cause problems similar to those in people including pain, peeling and skin cancer. Sunscreen for pets is now available so rub some on the unprotected areas like the tips of their ears, the skin around their lips and the tip of their noses.
Dogs don’t use sweat to cool themselves the way we do, so they don’t need to have exposed skin in order to stay cool. That being said, if a dog has too much hair, the hair can stop being beneficial in hot weather and start retaining too much heat. Using a Furminator to remove loose hair is sometimes enough to make some dogs comfortable in warm weather however if they are still seem too hot a clip leaving 25mm or so of fur will make them feel comfy but still give them insulation and protection from sunburn.
Can’t deal with the heat
Elderly, very young and sick animals find it hard to regulate their body temperature so keep them out of the sun and in the cool. Dogs with snub noses such as pugs, boxers, bulldogs have a hard time staying cool as they can’t pant efficiently so they also need to stay out of the heat. Over weight dogs are also more prone to overheating because their extra layers of fat act as insulation, which traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency. If you suspect your pet has heatstroke you must act quickly and calmly. Have someone call a veterinarian immediately
In the meantime, lower the animal’s body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body. Often the pet will respond after only a few minutes of cooling, only to falter again with his temperature soaring back up or falling to well below what is normal. With this in mind, remember that it is imperative to get the animal to a veterinarian immediately
Once your pet is in the veterinarian’s care, treatment may include further cooling techniques, intravenous fluid therapy to counter shock, or medication to prevent or reverse brain damage.
Signs of Heatstroke:
- Anxious expression
- Refusal to obey commands
- Warm, dry skin
- High fever
- Rapid heartbeat
If you have any concerns regarding your pet please talk to one of the team on 4151 5044