Jul 07 2016

Beat the Heat!

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With temperatures soaring to 100 degrees and “feels like” at 110 and higher, I feel this is the right time to talk about ways to beat the heat with our pets (and ourselves too).

Please be aware your furry friend is going to be just as susceptible to heat exhaustion as you are (and if a smooshie face dog even MORE so).

Make sure to:

  • Provide PLENTY of water, NEVER withhold water even if they are having accidents. Dehydration can kill! Not to mention damage to the kidneys if the body is telling the animal to drink and it is not available.
  • LIMIT outdoor time! Have them outside only for a few minutes at a time and try to keep it to times when temperatures are a little lower.
  • If you are taking them for exercise….. do it ONLY in the early morning as even after the sun goes down the concrete and buildings retain a lot of the heat from the blazing sun all day.
  • Remember, if you cannot place and hold the back of your hand comfortably on the sidewalk for 5-10 seconds, it is too hot for them to walk on! Those pads may feel thick and tough but they are certainly not and will burn and peel very easily!
  • If your pet does need to spend more time outdoors, they need LOTS of fresh water and shelter that they can escape the direct sun that will be always available. If your dog is kept outdoors most of the time, in extreme temperatures as we are experiencing you need to make arrangements during the hottest parts of the day for them to be inside.

Other cooling tips:

  • Make doggie popcicles! Take a bucket and put some dog friendly piece of fruit in the water or hidden toys and freeze it….. this will give time of fun for your dog and provide some cooling refreshment at the same time.
  • Kiddie pools aren’t just for kids! Fill it up and let them use it as a lounging bed or to play in. Just make sure to change the water daily to prevent bacterial growth or mosquito nursery.
  • Use a soft ball or toy for an indoor game of fetch in the a/c as opposed to playing outside. Or better yet, set up an indoor scavenger hunt for your pet with a variety of treats, food and favorite toys to keep them active and using their sniffer to help prevent destructive “boredom” behaviors. Puzzle treat toys are also great for this!
  • Don’t shave down your dog! Unless your dog is a breed that undergoes routine and regular cuts such as shih tzu, yourkie, many terriers, poodles, etc do not get them shaved down! The coats of dogs that are not routinely cut are not only insulation against cold but also helps with cooling! So rule of thumb do not get them shaved. That said, you still SHOULD do regular brushing to remove excess fur and keep mats at bay.

Brachycephalic breeds:

  • These are the dogs with smooshed in faces such as bulldogs, boston terriers, pekes, shih tzus, etc.
  • These breeds are MUCH more susceptible to heat stroke than other dogs with long noses. They still have all the same structures but much more compacted and often have smaller trachea’s which make air exchange harder. When they get overheated these structures can start to swell and make it even more dangerously difficult to breathe.
  • These guys NEED to stay in the a/c 99% of the time and only taken out for elimination and back in during these temperatures!

If you think your pet is suffering from heat stroke, GET THEM TO A VET IMMEDIATELY!!!!! Even if our office is closed take them to the closest emergency hospital as organ failure can occur days later if they are not only cooled down properly externally but also internally with IV fluids and such. Veterinary care is critical even if they come around and seem ok at home.

Jenn | Hospital Blog

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