Summer is a fun time to take up those outdoor activities with your beloved four-legged friend. It is quality time and great exercise for the both of you. For a safe summer respect the limits of animals in hot and humid weather to avoid heat stroke that can be life threatening.
The Do’s and Don’ts for a safer summer
Do not allow animals with medical problems; history of seizures, heart or lung disease to be exposed to hot and humid temperatures.
Do not leave pets outdoors in hot and humid weather without shade or water.
Do not leave your pet in a closed car in direct sun or on a warm day even with cracked open window. Panting a normal physiological response to cool off will saturate the air with water vapour consequently making the air in the car warmer and making it even more difficult for your pet to cool down.
Do not leave pets outdoors unattended in hot weather, even if you are gone for just a few minutes.
Do not exercise your pet in hot humid weather (heat waves) even if you have water available this is putting your pet at risk as well as yourself!
Do not expose young or old animals to hot and humid weather. They are more sensitive to high temperatures because they cannot acclimatise effectively.
Do not expose heavy coated dogs (Husky, German shepherd, and Chow Chow) to hot humid weather.
Do not allow particular breeds with short snouts such as Shit Tzu, Boxers, Pekinese, Bull dogs and Persian cats to be exposed to hot and humid weather. Their” flat faces” make breathing even more difficult in warm temperatures.
Here is what you can do!
Freeze bottles of water. They will provide cold water and a handy ice pack throughout the day.
When traveling in a car or doing an outdoor activity help keep your pet cool on a cooling pad; these are readily available at your local Pitou Minou & Compagnons / Global pet store.
Bring snacks (apples, carrots, pineapple, and melon) for the both of you. The water and sugar in these will help prevent dehydration and exhaustion caused by heat.
Symptoms of heatstroke
If you notice your pet salivating and panting excessively stop immediately and find a secluded shaded area to provide first aid. Other symptoms of heatstroke include difficulty in breathing, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, bright red color inside of cheeks and gums (sign of early shock), lethargic (stumbles when walking), has a seizer or collapses.
Listen to your dog’s body language don’t wait until most of the symptoms of heatstroke are evident, one symptom is all you need to stop what you are doing and provide first aid.
First aid for Heat stroke
The objective is to cool down your pet as quickly as possible bringing the body temperature back to normal (38.5-39.1 degrees Celsius)
Use and find anything you can to wet your animal, use your water bottle, cooling pad. Soak towels with cool water and place them on the dog’s head, neck, feet, chest and abdomen. Monitor your pet’s vital signs. Your pet may need CPR. Follow first aid directions and seek immediate veterinary care.
Chantale Robinson MA. SC. A.H.T
Biologiste, Technicienne en Santé Animal