Feeling The Heat
As temperatures sour across Australia it’s time to carefully consider how our pets are feeling the heat.
“Let’s face it the weather is becoming unbearable at times,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia (PIA) says. “Most of us two-legged variety’s enjoy breaks from the blistering heat in air-conditioned retreats throughout the day, our pets however are not so lucky.”
It’s around this time of year that veterinarians across Australia witnesses an increase in heat related issues.
“Heat-stroke is a very real and very deadly,” Crighton says. “It can happen suddenly and have devastating results.
The most affected are old or very young pets, certain types of breeds (brachycephalic breeds or those who have a short noses like British Bulldogs) and those pets that suffer from a range of conditions, such as obesity.
So how can you help your pet beat the heat?
- Leave plenty of cool water around for your pet.
- Ensure they have ample shady areas.
- Cool areas to sleep; concrete or tiles in the shade or consider wetting a soil area (like under a tree) before you leave for work.
- Get creative – fill ice-cream containers with water and a few pet treats, freeze. Give to your pet to play with and cool down at the same time.
- Fill a children’s play pool (like a clam shell) with a small amount of water to play and lay in.
- Restrict exercise during the hottest part of the day. Consider night and early morning walks.
It’s also a good time to remember to never leave your pet in a hot car. The research says it all; dogs die quickly in hot cars. Many studies have now concluded that even with the windows cracked, the internal temperature of a car will rise at the same rate as with the windows closed. In fact 80% of the final temperature rise occurs in the first 30mins and cracking a window is not effective in decreasing either the rate of the heat increase or the maximum temperature reached.
“A Standford University study revealed that when it’s only 22 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car will rise to a staggering 47.2 degrees within 60 minutes,” Crighton says. “If it’s hot outside, your cars internal temperature will climb to an unbearable and life threatening level.”
PIA is warning of the importance of pet owners understanding the early signs of heatstroke. Dogs and cats die very quickly from heatstroke unless it is treated immediately.
If you suspect your animal is suffering from heatstroke do not hesitate in seeking medical attention. Heatstroke can cause irreversible cell damage to animals that can quickly result in death. Symptoms are:
- Pet distress
- Excessive panting
- Copious volumes of saliva
- Bright red or bluish purple gums
“Use your intuition, and trust your inner-voice. If your animal does not seem right, seek help.”