Hey guys, so this is a really random post but it is very important too! So we appear to be having something of a heat wave here in the UK (hurray…); us Brits aren’t used to this sort of weather, anything past 25 degrees is a shock and today it is apparently going to be hitting 33 degrees as the highest temperature!! It’s going to be at its hottest between 1pm and 5pm.
First of all guys, make sure you drink lots of water, protect your skin and dress appropriately for the heat! It’s really important to keep your body in top form during stressful weather conditions!
However this post isn’t about us humans, it’s about our furry friends!! Every year hundreds of people forget about the stress our furkids go through during high temperatures; some get incredibly ill and some experience the worst, death. It’s really important to take a moment to think about how our pets feel with all that fur covering their body, so to protect your pets just follow these steps:
- Keep walks to a minimum (or not at all) – Yes it’s sucky because we all know how much our pooches love those walks, but if the pavement is too hot for you to put your bare foot on it for long then it’s a no-go for dogs! Not only is this a risk for paw pad burns but dog bodies will heat up faster being closer to the ground.
- Get a hair cut – If your dog doesn’t shed or sheds little and has a long coat, then it’s an idea to get the dog a hair cut. Even if the dog has a beautiful coat, surely the health of your pup is more important? So either take it to the groomer’s or do it yourself, but make sure you leave it at least 1″ long as the dog will need protection from sunburn.
- Cool and hydrated – Ensure your dog has access to plenty of cool (not ice cold) water and shade; it’s probably best for dogs to be kept inside a cool house during periods of high heat.
- Time for a swim – To help keep temperatures down, offer the dog a cool bath or paddling pool to splash around in – plus it’s funny to watch.
- Allow your dog to pant – Dogs don’t sweat like humans do instead they pant to release the heat from their bodies, so it’s important to let them pant it out and that includes not using a muzzle on them as this restricts their ability to pant; this is especially important for dogs with short or snub snouts.
- Do not leave your dog in the car – They say that it is safe to leave your dog in a car as long as you leave the windows open but even if you had windows open, water and parked in the shade, the car is still capable of rising to oven-like temperatures which can deliver an agonising, slow death to your dog. So no to leaving dogs in the car, even for a few minutes!!
Heatstroke is the most dangerous condition; it can cause organ failures, seizures, brain damage, blindness and death. Here are some signs to watch out for that your dog might have heat exhaustion which can lead to heatstroke:
- Unresponsiveness or disorientation
- Bright red gums, tongue, eyes or inner ears
- Excessive panting or noisy breathing
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
- Uncoordinated/unstable movement
- Nausea and vomiting
If you notice these signs then your first step is to try and bring the dog’s temperature down with these steps:
- Get them inside to a cool area, preferably a breezy space or with a fan.
- Dampen their body with cool water or damp towels (never use ice cold water as this can send them into shock).
- Give them water to drink but don’t force them as they might inhale or choke on the water.
- Take to a vet as soon as possible.
Even if the dog seems okay it is important to get them to a vet as soon as possible so that they can check over the health of your dog; there may be some underlying issues that were triggered by the heat exhaustion which you might not be able to see, so just in case it is best they are seen to.
Dogs who have suffered from heat exhaustion are prone to getting it again, so be extra alert the next time you’re experiencing a hot day!
If you see a dog trapped in car, do not hesitate to call the RSPCA; time is of the essence when it comes to trapped dogs, it only takes minutes for them to suffer brain damage so make sure you monitor the dog as best as you can and keep the RSPCA updated with its condition. If the dog seems like it is in a fatal condition, just smash the window and take the details of the car to hand over to the police for animal cruelty.
SO many people don’t realise how sensitive dogs are to heat, even those who really treat their dog like a human fail to realise this. Imagine if you were in the position that you were putting your dog in (for example a danger scenario): you’re sat outside in the blazing sun with a warm bottle of water and a heavy winter coat on that you’re not allowed to take off, or the same situation but you’re sat in a car with the windows barely open. That is how your dog would feel and there is nothing they can do about it, only you are the one who can save and protect them. This doesn’t just go for dogs but ALL animals that you have.
- THINK – How hot is my dog with all that fur?
- THINK – Can my dog come with me where I am going so that I don’t have to leave them in the car?
- THINK – Can I walk bear foot on the boiling pavement?
- THINK – Does my dog have access to water like I do?
Please don’t be one of those idiot owners who appear on RSPCA because they were too late breaking into the car to save a dog YOU trapped. Please look after your pets.