Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When it's hot, hot hot outside: preventing heat stroke in dogs

Jessie knows exactly what she needs on a hot day – a shady spot and a cool, refreshing drink of water

Some dogs will literally play until they drop – especially ball-fixated dogs like labs. They don’t have many ways of telling you that they’re overheating or suffering from heat stroke, so it’s up to you to watch for signs: check their gums – they should be pink, not bright brick red or blue, and watch for excessive panting, increased heart rate and temperature, and confusion. In extreme cases breathing stops, there’s bruising, vomiting or diarrheoea, seizures or ultimately coma.

A recipe for a healthy, happy dog in the summer is water, shade and careful supervision. Monitoring and limiting their amount of play-time during the hottest time of day is essential. Never, ever leave your dog in a vehicle in the summer – they get too hot. And, for extra doggie comfort give your dog their own pool for easy self-cooling.

If you suspect that your dog is overheating, get their temperature down immediately. Place them in a shaded area and submerge them in cool water – especially the head and paws – keeping their face above water. Spraying them with a hose works too. Encourage them to drink water and check their temperature regularly, making sure you don’t lower it too low so they go into hypothermia.

Learn more about how to prevent health problems by taking a
pet first aid course nearest you.

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