Joey’s Tuesday Tip – The Summer Series
By Scott Lackenby | Dated November 25, 2014
Hey everyone. How are you all? Did you survive the heat of the past few days? I don’t enjoy being a black cat on hot days like we’ve had. But it got me thinking about all the things that can go wrong for us critters when the temperature starts to rise. So, for the next few weeks, I’ll be chatting about some of the more common problems we see during the summer months.
This week will be about a summer problem that can be fatal. And I’m not talking about ticks. Heatstroke is extremely series and is caused by a dramatic rise in body temperature. Most commonly seen in dogs, it can also affect little critters like rabbits, guinea pigs and birds. It’s not only on hot or humid days that animals may be struck down with heatstroke. Dogs left in cars, even on mild days, can also be struck down. Dogs can become overheated from excessive exercise. And dogs who have breathing issues or breeds with short snouts are also at risk.
Unlike you humans, dogs don’t sweat to regulate their body temperature. Instead, they breath heavier and pant. For dogs who already have breathing issues, it can be harder for them to regulate their body temperature. Dogs with pre existing breathing issues need to be watched extra closely when the mercury rises. Breeds like Pugs, Boxers and Staffys, with short snouts, also need to take extra care in the heat.
So what are the signs of heatstroke? Aside from an elevated body temperature, dogs suffering from heatstroke may also persistent panting, agitation, brick red gums, vomiting and muscle tremors. In severe cases, you may notice confusion in your dog, they may have seizures and collapse. If you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke, you need to start cooling them down and get them to a Vet ASAP. The best way to do this is to wrap or drop them in cool, wet towels, crank the air conditioning in the car and take them to the Vet. Even when their temperature returns to normal, there is still a risk of permanent damage and even death.
Serious stuff, right? So what’s the best way to avoid heatstroke? Firstly, NEVER leave your dog, or any animal, in the car. Even if it’s parked in the shade and the windows are down. Make sure your pets have access to plenty of water. On really hot days, put out an extra water bowl. Ensure outdoor animals have access to plenty of shade. Where possible, move animals inside on really hot days. If you can’t move your bunny or guinea pig inside, place frozen water bottles in their hutch and make sure the hutch is shaded. And avoid walking and exercising your dog in the heat of the middle of the day.
As always, if you have any concerns or questions about your pet, don’t hesitate to call us. We are a 24 hour Vet and are always happy to help. Well, better go. There’s always work to do for this busy Pymble Vet clinic cat! Meows for now, love Joey xoxo