As we are set for a heatwave across much of the UK this week, here are some words of wisdom and advice from Carol Baby, National Behavioural Support Officer for Forever Hounds Trust.
Dogs can easily suffer from heatstroke and when they do it is critical that they get help immediately.
Dogs temperatures are naturally much higher than ours at 102.5 compared to our 98 degrees Fahrenheit. With a fur coat too they are much hotter than we are when they are left in warm places.
In your car on a warm day the temperature inside can become more than double the temperature outside. I know you all know this BUT… even if the car is parked in the shade with the windows open a dog is still in great danger of suffering heatstroke and dying on a WARM day. Notice I say WARM…. a hot day is a death sentence for sure for a dog left in a car .People so often underestimate this. They know it is warm but they think it’s not too warm and leaving the window open will make it ok and then they come back to find the worst has happened…. I know someone who made that mistake…. I don’t think she will ever get over it.
Dogs also find walking in the hot weather stressful. If you must walk them do it in the early morning or late evening. Dogs can’t sweat through their skin like we do. The pavements can become searingly hot to a dogs pads and sight hounds have thinner pads than other breeds. Dogs don’t actually need to walk every day. Take a pack of wild dogs. They never actually say to each other “We have had no exercise today we had better go for a walk” They just find a shady place to keep cool.
It is a good idea to provide your dog with a hard child’s paddling pool full of water so that they can really cool off if they want, and of course make sure their drinking water is cool and fresh and kept topped up.
You can help keep your dog cool buy buying a silver sun reflective cooling mac from our shop – these are well worth having as they will help to bring down the dogs temperatures in hot weather.
Symptoms of heatstroke
- Excessive or loud panting
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent vomiting
- A bright red tongue and pale gums
- Skin around muzzle or neck doesn’t snap back when pinched
- Thick saliva
- Increased heart rate
By now your dog is in serious trouble
- Increased difficulty breathing
- Gums that turn bright red, then blue or purple
- Weakness and/or fatigue
- Collapse or coma
By now permanent damage to your dog’s internal organs may have been caused.
First aid for dogs with heatstroke
- Remove to a cool shady airy place.
- Offer a cool (Not cold) drink. Allow a little at a time, don’t let him gulp it down.
- Hose or sponge or towel him down with cool (not cold) water. Don’t wrap him in wet sheets or towels as they will soon become hot and trap the heat in.
- Call the vet and ask for an emergency appointment
This may all sound rather shocking and scary, but if you take sensible precautions to keep your dog cool then you will both be able to enjoy the lovely weather ahead whilst keeping safe.