Here at Burrard Animal Hospital + Emergency, we are getting excited about the warm weather coming, and are looking forward to soaking up some sun! But while our pets may enjoy the sunny days too, it is important to remember that, unlike people, our cats and dogs are unable to sweat to cool themselves down quickly, and so can suffer from heat exhaustion and dehydration very quickly. With summer just around the corner, here are a few tips for keeping your furry friends cool when it’s hot out…
Ensure there is fresh drinking water available at all times. If you are out and about with your dog, bring bottled water and a collapsible bowl with you, and take time to stop and give them a drink occasionally.
Don’t leave dogs in hot cars. Even with the windows down, a dog trapped in a hot parked car can rapidly succumb to the effects of heat stroke. 10 minutes may not sound like long, but it’s enough time for the internal temperature of a car to reach fatal heights for your dog. Instead, take them with you, or leave them at home if you’re running errands where your dog isn’t welcome.
Avoid exercising animals in the hottest part of the day, or for prolonged periods at high exertion. Instead, walk them in the cooler hours, when they are less likely to become overheated. This is especially important for short-faced breeds such as Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, who are particularly susceptible to hotter temperatures.
– Watch out for hot floor surfaces – if you wouldn’t walk on it barefoot, don’t ask your dog to! Hot concrete and asphalt can not only burn their feet but can give off a lot of extra heat too to an animal that is close to the ground.
– If you have long haired animals, keeping their coats shorter during warmer months may help them to regulate their body temperatures. Aim to leave about an inch of fur, as this will keep their skin protected, whilst keeping their bodies cool.
– Cats and dogs with pale skin can get sunburnt just like us! White furred pets are particularly prone, often around the tips of the ears and the nose. Pet-safe sun blocks are available and can be used to protect your loved ones from those harmful UV rays.
Provide cool, shaded, well-ventilated areas in you home for your pet to relax and escape the heat. Baths can help to cool them down too.
Symptoms of overheating include heavy panting in dogs, open-mouthed breathing in cats, weakness, a glazed or disoriented expression, excess thirst, and potentially vomiting or diarrhea, seizures, collapse, and even sudden death.
If you are concerned that your animal may have become overheated, move him or her to a cool area, offer water, and contact us immediately on (604) PET-LOVE.