Keeping Your Furry Friends Safe in the Heat | Cloud 9 Vets

How do I Know if it is Too Hot For my Pet?

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Humans know when it is too hot and can behave in ways to make themselves more comfortable. Things such as staying indoors, having a glass of cold water, eating an ice lolly or putting sun cream on may seem like obvious things to do. Our furry friends cannot do those things and so make behavioural changes to adapt to the heat. It is therefore quite helpful to be able to read the signs if your pet is feeling too hot, so you can add accordingly. Here are some hot weather pet care tips for you.

How do I know if it is too hot for my pet?

Signs to look out for include:

 

  • Panting – this is one of the main ways dogs cool down as they cannot sweat like humans – this is regarded as one of the top signs it is too hot to keep your dog outside
  • Lying flat out – provides a larger surface area for heat to escape from the surface of the skin, through convection. Sometime the skin may look flushed due to the increase in blood flow to the skin surface.
  • Looking for shade – avoiding direct sun rays helps to keep cool.
  • Being quieter than usual or sleeping – being hot makes you tired. The regulatory mechanisms within the body are working hard to cool down.
  • Not wanting to play – being active will generate heat in the muscles, making our furry friends warmer.

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What can I do to stop my pet from overheating?

If it is predicted to be more than 25-27 degrees, then it is definitely going to be too hot to leave your dog or cat outside. Also ensure you are not walking your dog in the midday sun or locking your cat outdoors for the whole day. Keep them indoors with plenty of water available.

If you see your furry friend showing any of the above signs you can:

 

  • Offer cool tap water.
  • Take them indoors.
  • Turn a fan on.
  • Place a wet towel in the floor for them to lie on.
  • Keep them calm and do not over excite them.
  • Wet them with cool water, not cold as this can cause the blood vessels to become smaller and less heat will be lost from the skin surface. They may even shiver which will again, generate heat.

 

When is too hot, too hot?

Over heating or hyperthermia, can have severed clinical effects on the body, sometimes leading to death. Dehydration, irregular heartbeats, multi-organ failure, passing of blood in the stool, seizures and loss of consciousness are amongst some of the symptoms.

Dog on a Beach

Which animals are at risk of overheating?

 

  • Animals which spend most of the daytime outside.
  • Very young or old animals have more trouble regulating body temperatures.
  • Brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs or short-nosed cats – they experience breathing difficulties which are amplified in hot weather.
  • Already weak or unwell animals, in particular animals with known lung or windpipe problems.
  • Excessively active animals or working animals.
  • Animals with long thick fur.
  • And animals with limited water supply

If any concerns, please contact your local veterinarian who will be able to advise you suitably.

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Dog and Woman
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by Cloud 9 Vets on July 22, 2019

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