As many areas are still in the midst of heatwave warnings, the Lloydminster Animal Hospital urges pet owners to take extra precautions. Dr. Becky Newman says one of the first things pet owners should be mindful of, is that a short time in a hot car can be harmful to your animal.
“On average, less than 15 minutes in a hot car may be enough to cause heatstroke. If you think that your pet is suffering from heatstroke, you need to cool them down.”
For dog owners, Dr.Newman recommends placing your furry friend in a bathtub with cool water. If that is not possible, she suggests getting a towel soaked in cool water to drape over your pet or place ice packs on areas that don’t have as much fur such as the groin or armpits. Since dogs can’t sweat, Dr. Newman says they eliminate heat by panting and when that fails to work their body temperature will rise.
“If you have a thermometer and you can take their body temperature, once they go below 39.5°C you don’t have to continue to cool them off they will continue to regulate on their own. It will probably take you 25 minutes to a half an hour to get that body temperature back to normal.”
Newman adds when most people think of heatstroke in dogs they talk about leaving the animals in hot vehicles, but she says walking your pet, taking it to the park, or leaving it outdoors for extended periods of times can cause issues as well.
“If you don’t want to walk on it in bare feet, just think that it might be hot on your dog’s footpads as well.”
If you have to walk your dog during a hot day, it is recommended to stick to the grass if you can. Pet owners are advised to stick to cooler periods of the day to walk your pet such as the morning or evening.
Newman says breeds with “pushed in faces” known as a brachycephalic breed are more predisposed to heatstroke.
“Because their face has a much more push in appearance to them it also has some effects to the inside of their mouth as well. Breeds that are much more prone to heatstroke include pugs and bulldogs.”
When dogs are inside a home it is also important that they’re kept cool. Having the A/C running or shades drawn can help keep their environment cool and ensure their safety.
If the heatstroke doesn’t subside, Dr.Newman suggests taking your animal to a veterinarian as they may need intravenous fluids to re-hydrated or secondary complications such as high blood pressure may occur.