Summer is usually every pet owners favourite season, being able to take your pooch to the park or for a beach adventure, allows your pet to spend that much needed quality time with their favourite human! With that said summer does come with the added risk that no other season has- heat stroke.
As a veterinary nurse of 5 years the dreaded summer season always sparks an influx of patients suffering from heat stroke. Exposure to soaring temperatures allow heat stroke to take affect in an animal in just 10 minutes! In this article we aim to educate our customers and readers on the best ways to prevent heat stroke.
1. Prep Your Pooch
You can start preparing for summer by trimming their coat, but DO NOT shave it! Your dog’s fur does not only keep them warm but it can also PROTECT their skin against the sun. If your dog has a heavier coat, consider taking them to a dog groomer to have their coat trimmed professionally for the hot summer months.
But, again, never shave your dog’s fur or else you will increase the risk of your dog getting sunburnt and overheating. There is also an increased risk of skin cancer due to sun damage. The image below shows how hot the skin can be once its exposed to shaving.
2. Health Status & Breed of Your Dog
Heat stroke is often observed in dogs that are either very young or our more senior doggos. However, dogs that are overweight, as well as those that are not acclimated to the hot weather, can also easily suffer from heat stroke when left outside in the heat for too long or are allowed to exercise outdoors for long periods of time. This is why in times of heat waves especially in countries that are not used to such weather, pets become at risk
Brachycephalic breeds (squished noses) such as French Bulldogs, Pugs, English Bulldogs & most of the other short-nosed breeds, have a much higher risk for heat stroke in dogs.
3. Avoid Prolonged Periods Outdoors
Leaving your dog outside in the heat for any period is the number one cause of heat stroke. Bring your dog inside or into accommodation with controlled temperature. Keep the loo visits short and do not allow them to play outdoors for too long when the sun is still at its peak.
For your dogs who stay in a shaded area in your backyard, pay more attention to them during summer as they can quickly overheat. Take note that your dog’s natural body temperature is approx 35 degrees Celsius and when the environment gets warmer, it will be more difficult for your dog to lower its body temperature.
Once the temperature outside reaches the internal temperature of your dog, it will be impossible for your dog to cool down and they can quickly suffer from heatstroke.
4. Quinch that Thirst!
Make sure to bring water with you at all the times on your walks, even if it is just for a short stroll. Why not try your Pet Travel Cup? Also plan on taking frequent breaks so your dog can rehydrate. If you are walking your pet in the warm sun, wet your pet thoroughly with cool water from a hose, especially if your dog has a long coats. At peak sun hour, if the ground is too hot for your feet then it is a no go, burns can occur in the dogs pad leading to nasty infections.
Don’t forget to test the water that comes out of the hoses coiled under the sun. Take note that the sun could considerably heat up the water and could even scald your poor pet.
It would also help if you just leave a bowl full of water in your backyard to make water more accessible to your dog. Why not try our Frosty Pet Bowl which leaves water cool for up to 8hours! Don’t forget to refill this bowl often, to make sure that it will be fresh and cool at all times.
7. Car Safety
Even if you think you don’t need the air conditioner on, your dog might. Make sure that your car has proper air flow and ventilation. If you are traveling with a dog in a crate, check whether the air can reach them. There should also be holes in the crate so the airflow will not be blocked.
Don’t ever leave your dog unattended inside the car even if you are parking under the shade or you left the windows open. Even it is just a few minutes. Your car’s internal temperature can quickly spike to very dangerous levels.