As the hot temperatures are still here it is important to remember that dogs are vulnerable to heat-related injuries and illnesses including heat stroke, sunburn, and plantar burns.
The most dangerous condition is heat stroke, which can cause respiratory failure, seizures, brain damage, hemorrhaging, blindness, convulsions, and even death.
Any animal that cannot cool itself is at risk for heat stroke, but some breeds and dogs with certain conditions are more susceptible.
Heart disease, obesity, advanced age, or respiratory problems put the dog at greater risk, and for these animals, even normal activities in intense heat can be detrimental. Dogs with shorter muzzles have more difficulty panting and others do not tolerate the heat.
What can we do to prevent them from suffering heat stroke? Be smart and proactive!
1-When the temperature is high, don’t let your dog rest on hot surfaces such as asphalt and concrete. Keep walks to a minimum.
2-Giving your dog a summer haircut can help prevent overheating but never shave to zero: the dog needs a minimal layer of protective hair to prevent sunburn.
3-Provide access to fresh water at all times. Make sure a dog outdoors has access to shade and plenty of cool water.
4-Restrict exercise when temperatures rise, and do not muzzle, as it inhibits their ability to pant.
5-Many dogs enjoy a swim, splashing in a kiddie pool, or a run through a sprinkler can help lower body temperature.
6-Never leave your pet in the car, even if it is parked in the shade or will be outside for only a few minutes. The temperature inside a car can reach oven temperatures in a matter of minutes, often over 140 degrees!!!!.
7- If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke, a quick action can save his life. Take the dog from out from the hot area immediately. Douse him thoroughly with water and try to lower the ambient temperature around him with a fan. Do not use ice or very cold water: it can be counterproductive as cooling too quickly can trigger other life-threatening illnesses. Allow free access to water, but do not force the animal to drink: it may inhale it and drown.
Even if the dog seems to be recovering, take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Dehydration is a complication that needs to be treated by a veterinarian. The first priority will be to lower the body temperature to a safe range, and the animal can be given fluids and/or oxygen. A pet in heat stroke should be monitored for shock, respiratory failure, renal failure and heart abnormalities, and treated accordingly. Blood samples should also be taken, as clotting problems are a very common complication.
Dogs that have suffered a heat stroke, tend to repeat ! …so for them, hot and humid days will always pose a greater danger.
If any of the organs such as the heart, lungs, liver or kidneys have been severely affected during heat stroke, the consequences can be irreversible.
Responsible owners should protect their pets from the dangers of excessive heat so that they can safely enjoy the summer outdoors.
Remember El Port Veterinary Clinic is in Altea in case of emergency or anything your pet may need. You can book an appointment through their website or by calling +34 966 880 612. The clinic is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, while on Saturdays they can attend you from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
El Port Veterinary Clinic
Calle La Mar, 159, Altea – 03590 (Alicante)
Phone: +34 966 880 612