We are urging all pet parents to ensure their pets are kept cool and inside where possible over the coming days. Extreme heatwave conditions are continuing to develop and are expected to reach a record high across the country.
Heat stress can be fatal, unlike humans, most animals can’t sweat to reduce body heat. Instead, dogs and cats lose heat by panting but there is a limit as to how much they can cool themselves down.
No matter how healthy you think your pet is, animals of all shapes, sizes and age can be affected by heat stress (or heat stroke). Some animals with specific physiological conditions such as dogs with short snouts including the bulldog, pug, boston terrier and boxer type breeds are particularly at risk.
Heat stress occurs when animals are confined in hot environments, often when locked in cars where the temperature can rise to lethal levels very quickly and in many circumstances it is life threatening.
Modifying your exercise or walking routine should be considered in the warmer months also. Jogging or walking early in the morning or late in the evening is recommend as the temperatures are definitely cooler at these times.
Ensure that your pet has adequate shade in their backyard and always refrain from tethering a dog to something that can prevent them from seeking different areas of the yard throughout the day.
Signs that your pet could be suffering from heat stress:
- Excessive panting
- Bright red gums and tongue which turn to blue
- Anxious pacing, uncoordinated, stumbling
- Seizures or strange behaviour
Heat stress can affect pets so quickly that they can become comatose within a very short timeframe of being exposed to the heat and direct sun.
If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stress, quick action is required for there to be a positive outcome. You should transport your pet to your local Greencross Vet immediately. While on the way, there are a few techniques that you can do to keep your pet quiet and try to lower their body temperature.
First aid techniques for heat stress in pets:
- Soak a towel in cool water, drizzle the water on your pet concentrating on the head, stomach, neck, inner thighs and pads of the feet
- Wrap your pet in a cool wet towel
- For larger pets, gentle hosing or bathing with cool water, followed by cool towels applied to the head and stomach
- You want to cool your pet slowly to avoid hypothermia, which is why it is important to use cool water noticed water
Tips on preventing heat stress in your pet:
- Ensure that your pet has access to plenty of fresh, cool water at all times
- Modify your exercise routine with your pet to avoid the midday sun
- NEVER leave a pet in a car even if the windows are open or even if it appears to be an overcast day
- Remember that all pets can be affected by heat stress but pets with long hair, overweight, older animals and specific breeds are at a higher risk
- Make sure that outdoor pets have access to lots of shade, ensure they have the freedom to move freely around their yard.
- Inside animals also need to have access to lots of fresh water and well-ventilated spaces
Never leave pet’s in cars or tied to trays
Bring pets inside where possible
Provide easy access to cool fresh water
Don’t walk pets on hot pavement
All animals can be at risk of heat stress
If it’s too hot for you, then it is too hot for your pet!