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Beware of Overheating Pets in Summer Weather


The warm weather is coming, and with warm weather comes fun walks, runs, and swims for both you and your dogs. However, it is important to take care of your dogs in the heat, and if anything seems to be wrong, taking them to a Vancouver animal wellness hospital for treatment.

While locking dogs in hot cars is not only illegal but cruel, dogs can also get heat stroke from being outside, just like humans can. Your pet has many of the same needs as you do. Food, shelter, water, protection from the elements, and companionship are all things that people, and animals, all need and want.

Heatstroke happens when the body’s temperature increases above the normal range. For animals, the range is 38.3 to 39.2 C, or 101.0-102.5 F. While some animals and humans have a baseline that may be slightly above or below the average range, anything over 40 C, or 104 F is concerning. In this case, it is important that you take your pet to a Vancouver animal wellness hospital as quickly as possible.

Not surprisingly, dogs with thick, heavy fur coats are at a greater risk of getting heat stroke during the warmer months. Animals with heavier fur coats have fewer sweat glands to keep them cool. Dogs that are brachycephalic, such as pugs and bulldogs can also be of greater risk due to their shorter respiratory tracts. Overweight, older, and dogs with pre-existing conditions are also at a greater risk.

Signs of heatstroke in your pet can be similar to humans. While pets pant to cool down their body temperature, this is normal behaviour. If you see your pet vomiting, having difficulty breathing, excessively drooling, stumbling, excessively panting, or having seizures, these are all signs of a life-threatening situation. If you notice any of these signs, your pet needs veterinary care as soon as possible, so take them to a Vancouver animal wellness hospital quickly.

If your pet looks like they are overheating, giving them some cool water and putting them in the shade will cool them down. If the symptoms of heat stroke are mild, monitor your pet. Draping a lukewarm towel can help. It is very important to never give cold water, or soak them with cold water if you suspect they might have heat stroke. This can make the situation worse.

Depending on your pet’s temperament, there are shirts and vests available for dogs that help them cool down faster. The University of Florida found in a study of seven dogs, that dogs took up to 60 minutes longer to cool down after exercise in the summer compared to the winter. The cooling vests did help some dogs cool down faster after exercise, however, there is no definitive proof that wearing a cooling vest will help your dog stay cool during exercise.

Cooling shirts and vests are designed with a special material that accelerates the rate of evaporation. The evaporation helps cool the air surrounding the dog’s body. Cooling vests work better in dry climates than in humid ones due to the rate of evaporation. Cooling vests and shirts are simple to use, and can be a great help if your dog does not mind wearing shirts. Dunking the vest in cool water, and wringing it out is all that needs to happen before your dog wears it.

While there are many ways to prevent heatstroke, if heatstroke does happen, it is important to get your pet to a Vancouver animal wellness hospital right away for treatment.

Facebook Headline: Dog days of summer are almost here! Make sure your pet stays cool in the heat to prevent heatstroke!

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