Look out for heatstroke

With the weather heating up it is important to remember how this may affect our furry pets. Overheating or heatstroke can sometimes lead to an emergency visit to your veterinary clinic.

It’s critical to check outside temperatures before exercising with your dog. Dogs cool down primarily through panting so they can rapidly overheat when exercising or playing outside. As many dogs love to play, they typically won’t make a conscious decision about when to stop. When a dog becomes overheated he/she could suffer from heat stroke—a devastating and possibly life threatening condition.

Prevent heatstroke

To help prevent heatstroke, offer lots of drinking water, shade and watch for signs of overheating.

Signs of overheating

  • high heart rate
  • red and dry gums
  • walking slowly
  • lying down
  • walking off balance
  • panting heavily
  • collapsing

Heatstroke occurs in increments and can usually be prevented if you intervene. If your dog is overheating, immediately soak him/her with cool water and seek veterinary care as quickly as possible. It is important not to exercise during the warmest times of the day.

Heatstroke does not only affect animals exercising on hot days, it includes pets intolerant of high heat including:

  • Large breed dogs
  • Overweight dogs
  • Dogs that are excessively furry
  • Brachycephalic “short-faced/ flat-nosed” dogs (pugs, mastiffs, boxers, bulldogs, etc.) - these breeds often experience difficulty expelling heat and cooling down
  • Senior dogs

Protecting paws

High temperatures can also made the ground too hot to walk on. Please check with the palm of your hand before taking your dog for a walk. If your dogs are walking over coarse or rocky terrain, you may want to invest in protective boots. Some overly exuberant dogs that run on cement or rocky surfaces create painful ulcers on their paw pads. Always check your pet's feet and pads after being outside for injuries.

Never leave a dog in the car

On even on mild days car interiors can heat up dangerously quickly.