Heat stress can be fatal
Unlike humans, most animals can’t sweat to reduce body heat. Instead, dogs reduce heat by panting, but there is a limit to how much they can cool themselves down.
No matter how healthy your pet is, heat stress can prove dangerous for animals of all shapes and sizes. Dogs with short noses, such as the Bulldog, Pug, Boston Terrier, and Boxer type breeds are at greater risk.
Heat stress occurs when animals are confined in hot environments. Most commonly, animals locked in cars are struck with heat stress. Temperatures inside cars can rise to lethal levels very quickly. Never leave your pet in a car, even with the windows down.
Modifying your exercise or walking routine should be considered in the warmer months. Jogging or walking early in the morning or late in the evening is recommend as the temperatures are cooler at these times.
Ensure your pet has adequate shade in their backyard and always refrain from tethering a dog to something that can prevent them from seeking shade throughout the day.
Signs of heat stress
- excessive panting
- bright red gums and tongue which turn to blue
- anxious pacing, uncoordinated, stumbling
- seizures or strange behaviour
Heat stress can affect pets in an instant. Always take measures to ensure your pet is protected against weather extremities.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stress, you should contact your local Greencross Vet for advice immediately.
First aid techniques
- drizzle water on your pet concentrating on the head, stomach, neck, inner thighs and pads of the feet
- wrap your pet in a cool, damp towel
- for larger pets, gentle hosing or bathing with cool water, followed by cool towels applied to the head and stomach
- you want to cool your pet slowly to avoid hypothermia, which is why it is important to use cool water not iced water
- ensure your pet has access to plenty of fresh, cool water at all times
- modify your exercise routine with your pet to avoid the midday sun
- NEVER leave a pet in a car even if the windows are open or even if it appears to be an overcast day
- remember that all pets can be affected by heat stress but pets with long hair, overweight, very young or older animals are at a higher risk
- make sure that outdoor pets have access to lots of shade
- inside animals also need to have access to lots of fresh water and well-ventilated spaces
Remember, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stress, bring them to your local Greencross Vets immediately.