How to keep your pet cool this summer

cat on sunny day

keep dogs cool in summerIf you have a Dog……….

Dogs are not very good at keeping themselves cool so they will need your help. Ensure they have plenty of water, whether they are in the house or out on a walk. If you are at home keep the water in a heavy bowl so it can’t be easily knocked over

Don’t keep your dog in a car. You may think it’s ok to do this as you are leaving the window open, however, it’s not enough to keep the car cool. According to the RSPCA if it’s 22C outside, within an hour it can be 47C inside the car. Dogs die this way every year, please don’t let this happen to your dog.

Take your dog for a walk at cooler times of the day. Go in the morning and the evening instead.

If your dog is outside all day make sure there is plenty of shade as well as lots of water.

Regularly groom your dog. If you have a long haired breed, have the hair trimmed to help keep it cool.

Do you know the signs of heatstroke? Here is a checklist of what to look out for. Heavy panting, very red gums/tongue, excessive salivation, a rapid pulse, lack of co-ordination, lethargy, reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing, vomiting, diarrhoea and in extreme cases loss of consciousness.  If you see your dog displaying any of these symptoms ensure you take immediate action. Try to cool your dog down gradually as heatstroke can be fatal.  Douse your dog in cool water (not cold or iced water) and let it drink small amounts of cool water (again not cold or iced) until their breathing is more normal.  Then take your dog to the vets to be checked to make sure everything is ok.

cat on sunny dayIf you have a cat……….

Cats love the warm weather and are a lot better at keeping themselves cool. However, if it is excessively hot here are a few things you can do.

If you have a cat that likes to go outside, try not to let it out between 10am and 3pm so it avoids the hottest times of the day. If they are indoor cats keep blinds shut and curtains closed as this helps to keep the house cool.

Make sure your cat has access to plenty of water.

If you notice your cat is sleeping more it’s probably nothing to worry about. Cats are sensible and will nap more on a hot dayrather than spend their time running around. Maybe they are the more intelligent than dogs?

Pay attention to your cat’s feet. Cats and dogs have sweat glands in their paws. If you notice your cat is leaving wet paw prints it will need to have more water to replenish its fluids. You could try cooling your cat down by dipping its paws in water but it may not be pleased with you doing that.

If you see your cat panting, it doesn’t automatically mean it has heatstroke. Cats do pant but they rarely do it. However, if you think your cat is panting excessively check for other signs of heatstroke and take immediate action.

keep your rabbit coolIf you have a small furry pet……….

As always, make sure they have access to lots of clean water

Make sure you keep them clean.  When the weather is hot it results in more flies and maggots. This can lead to flystrike. This can fatally affect rabbits.

Keep your pet groomed and if it’s a long haired breed, have it trimmed to help keep it cool.

Keep hutches in the shade. It may mean you have to move it around during the day of you don’t have a permanently shaded spot.  Make sure the hutch is off the ground as this improves ventilation and can help to keep it cool.

Give small animals food that contains lots of water such as celery and apple. This will help keep them hydrated.

Spraying a water mist on larger animals such as rabbits is a good way to keep them cool.  Remember not to spray them in the face as they will not like it.

There are many other ways to keep your pet cool and a lot of them are common sense. A good way to look at it is if you are uncomfortable because of the heat there is a good chance your pet will be too.  If you need any extra information and advice please contact us  and we will be happy to have a chat.

Heat Stroke in pets

heat stroke warning for pets

heat stroke warning for petsHeat Stroke in Pets

With temperatures soaring it is important to know about the effects of heat on your pets. With their thick coats they can find it very hard to regulate their temperature and this can lead to heat stroke.

A dog was brought in to us recently suffering heat stroke after going on a little walk on a warm but overcast day. The dog was overweight and had a dark coloured coat (which absorbs more heat) and these contributed to the dog developing heat stroke.

It can occur if an animal is exercised during warm temperatures, locked in a car or conservatory and is more likely in brachycephalic breeds such as pugs or bulldogs. Dogs can only sweat through their paws and lose most of their body heat by panting.

If you have a dog with heat stroke, often the first signs are panting and lethargy or collapse. It is important NOT to place the dog into cold water or put wet towels over them. The cold water can send them into shock and the towels can warm up and act as a barrier, making the animal even hotter. It is also difficult to prevent the temperature from dropping too low once the animal is wet.

Veterinary treatment should be sought immediately but there are first aid measures that can help….

· Wetting the paws and the ears with cool water

· Placing ice packs wrapped in a towel in the armpits and the groin area (large blood vessels run along these areas so it helps to cool the blood more effectively but the towel prevents cold burns)

· Using a fan or air conditioning.

Dogs with heat stroke can develop swelling of the brain if untreated, which may lead to seizures and death. If brought to a vets promptly, they will be placed on a drip, have ice packs placed in the armpits and groin, given medication to prevent intestinal damage, which commonly occurs with heat stroke and sometimes, oxygen therapy, particularly with bulldog type breeds.

Dogs recover quickly if there has been no permanent damage and often go home the next day. They commonly have diarrhoea, so will be given medication for this.

Prevention is better than cure so avoid exercising dogs in the heat of the day, take particular care with brachycephalic breeds and those with heart conditions. Make sure there is always access to water. NEVER shut your dog in the car, as even with the window open, the temperature can quickly rise. Keeping some long haired breeds closely groomed may be appropriate in warm weather. Products such as Kool coats can also help to keep your dogs temperature more comfortable.

 

DOG HEAT STROKE – Take Immediate Action

· Get into the shade

· Apply cool water to the inner thighs, stomache and foot pads

· Use running water

· Never submerge your dog in water – this could cool him too rapidly leading to further complications

· Use cool – not cold water – cold water causes blood vessels to constrict slowing the process

· Don’t cover the dog

· Offer small amounts of cool water to drink

· GET TO YOUR VET

The Vet Says – Beware Heatstroke in Pets

sunUnless you live in Liverpool or John O’Groats, you may have noticed Summer has finally arrived, and with vengeance. Record temperatures over the weekend look set to continue, and it poses a real threat to your pet’s health. With that in mind here are some tips from Jonathan on keeping your pet cool in the sweltering heat.

With the sudden increase in temperature, it is important to be aware that our pets are at risk of heat stroke (hyperthermia). We see this most commonly in dogs but rabbits and guinea pigs kept outside in hutches or in sheds are also at risk. Cats are less susceptible to the effects of heat as they will adapt their lifestyle accordingly. However, I have seen cases in cats where owners had shut them in a conservatory and they had no ability to escape.

Dogs can overheat in a number of ways. The most obvious is when they are left in cars in the hot weather. They will very rapidly overheat and leaving a window open a couple of centimetres DOES NOT HELP. It never ceases to amaze me that despite all the hard work by the RSPCA to highlight the risks of leaving your dog in the car, it still happens. If owners do not believe how dangerous it is to leave their dog in a car for even a few minutes, I invite them to park their car on a hot day, put on a nice thick coat (because that is what their furry friend is wearing) and see how long they can sit comfortably in it with the window open a couple of centimetres.

Conservatories are similarly as dangerous. However, the commonest reason I see dogs suffering from heatstroke is that owners will insist on taking their dogs out for a walk despite the hot weather. And in some cases still throw a ball for them to chase! Please be sensible and only walk your dog when it is cool very early in the morning or late at night. If in doubt- do not walk them because animals can die of heatstroke.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • •Rapid Panting and Drooling
  • •Bright red tongue
  • •Red and Pale Gums
  • •Thick Sticky Saliva
  • •Hyper ventilation (gasping for air)
  • •Glossy eyes •Fever (103 +)
  • •Vomiting
  • •Weakness
  • •Diarrhea

Some breeds are more susceptible than others to heat stroke, particularly short-nosed breeds like Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs. Of course if you’re concerned call us for advice on 01268 533636. For further information on heat stroke in dogs visit the Dog Squad website.

Dogs and Car Travel

If you own a dog then you may, at some point, have to put him/her in a car. Whether it’s a trip to the vets or a longer journey there are several things to consider when it comes to the safety and comfort of your best friend.

Harnesses, Guards and Crates

We wear seatbelts and we make sure our kids are safely secured too. The same should apply to your dog.  They might be well behaved and sit quietly on the back seat. However, if you need to brake suddenly or if you bump your car, they could be thrown forward and get injured.  In a more serious bumb they could become a missile that will shoot forward and injure any of the people in the front of the car.

When deciding how to secure your dog, there are several choices available:

Dog Guard – This is a mesh which can be fitted between the boot and the back seat. This stops the dog from climbing over the seats. However, it doesn’t offer as much protection as your dog will not be protected from impact with the rear or side windows.  They need to be sturdy and properly secured in place to be effective as protection in case of accidents.

Crate – If you are going to put your dog in a crate you need to ensure, firstly, your car is big enough to hold it and secondly, the crate is big enough for your dog.  You need to make sure your dog is able to stand at full height and there is room for them to turn around and lie down in a normal position.  Make sure the dog can see out of the container and there is enough ventilation.  Also, by adding bedding to the crate it will help prevent the dog from slipping around.

Harness – If your dog is too big for a crate or you would prefer another option, then it’s worth considering a padded car harness that secures your dog by linking in with the seat belt system. Make sure to measure your dog to make sure you get the right size.  We have read these are not entirely safe as the straps can dig into the dog’s skin during an accident.

By choosing one of these options, it will ensure your pet has a safer journey. However, there are still other things to consider if you are going on a long journey:

Before putting the dog into the car, make sure they have exercised beforehand. This will help them settle as they will have burned off some excess energy.

Some dogs get motion sickness/car sick. If you know you are going on a long journey, don’t feed them before you travel. Leave it a couple of hours. Also, don’t give them food whilst travelling.  Keep them calm and give them a new toy to play with so it takes their mind off being in the car. If this is a problem then we do have medications that can assist with travel sickness and ease their stress.

Make sure you have plenty of water and take regular stops so your dog can stretch its legs.

Don’t let your dog stick its head out of the window.  It could result in injury. We have had dogs at the clinic that have done this and have had particles or small stones flicked up by tyres  that shoot into their eyes.  Also, some dogs may try to jump out.

Very Importantly, do not leave your dog in the car, especially on a hot day.  Whilst in the car, ensure the dog is not in direct sunlight.  Leaving a window open a crack is not sufficient as the inside of the car can get very hot and every year dogs die unnecessarily because they have overheated in cars.

These are a few hints and tips which we hope you will find useful. If you want more information, please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you.