Here Comes the Sun (Hopefully!)

by Anna Tilley RVN SQP
Published: Last Updated on

With such autumnal weather recently, perhaps issues such as heatstroke are not at the forefront of our minds. However, it is such an important and potentially fatal condition that with the summer months approaching we must always be aware of it.

It goes without saying that the number one rule, well publicised by the RSPCA and other organisations and veterinary practices alike, is ‘Dogs die in hot cars.’ This is a fact, and leaving the car in the shade, or the windows open, is not an alternative option. Please NEVER leave a dog in a car, even for a short time. Their temperature can rise to a dangerous level very quickly and can cause irreparable organ damage. If you see a dog locked in a car and you are concerned, please phone 999.

On hot days, adequate water and shade are a must for all pets, and it is strongly advised to avoid walking dogs during the hottest periods of the day (i.e. 10am-3pm). It is also a good idea to check any road surfaces with the back of your hand and if it is too hot to touch then it is too hot for your dog to walk on!

It is not just dogs that can be affected either. The same applies with regard to shade and water for cats and small pets. Please remember the animals in hutches outside may also be at risk, especially if they are in a confined space. Ideally hutches and runs should be placed away from direct sunlight, and with plenty of water available. Checking the temperature in the hutches and the water bottles regularly is also advisable. Don’t be tempted to cover the runs up as it could cause the temperature to rise even further.

Signs of heatstroke can include excessive panting, salivating, restlessness, bright red tongue, increased heart rate, respiratory distress, lack of responsiveness, and possibly inability to stand or sit up.

Remember, if you are concerned your pet may be suffering from heatstroke you must call the vet immediately.

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