Sunday 21 January 2018

Pets need extra help keeping cool in the sun

Bo, left, and Sunny, the Obama family's new puppy, on the South Lawn of the White House
Bo, left, and Sunny, the Obama family's new puppy, on the South Lawn of the White House

Eimear Phelan

While we're all out enjoying the recent spell of sunshine, we must not forget the danger to our furry friends.

Less efficient at cooling themselves down than humans, dogs and cats also don’t have the luxury of standing in front of the fridge.

Overheating is a serious issue with animals and can be fatal for our pets.

We talked to the Dublin Society for the Protection of Animals (DSPCA) to get the best tips to ensure your pets stay safe and cool.

  1. Make sure there is a cool place for your pet to go. Preferably somewhere completely out of the sun with shade and ventilation.
  2. Provide lots of water and top it up regularly as it may run out more quickly than usual due to evaporation. A little paddling pool can also help your pet cool off in the baking weather. On walks or in the car, make sure to always bring a bottle of water and a bowl with you.
  3. Don’t use ice cold water; if your pet is overheated the difference in temperature can cause organ failure.
  4. Don’t walk your dog excessively or let them run around too much in hot weather. Dogs can’t sweat so it’s easy for them to get too hot.
  5. Do not leave pets in conservatories or cars, even if its cloudy, as it can become too hot quickly.
  6. Groom dogs and cats during the summer to get rid of excess hair and give long haired breeds a haircut.
  7. Light coloured pets can get sunburned. Use pet safe sun cream on areas like ears and noses which are particularly sensitive.
  8. Also remember their feet. Hot tarmac can burn paws.

If your pet does get too hot they can develop heatstroke.  This is a very serious condition and can develop very quickly so it is important to recognise the symptoms:

  • Heavy panting 
  • Profuse salivation 
  • Rapid pulse 
  • Very red gums/tongue 
  • Lethargy/listlessness 
  • Lack of coordination 
  • Reluctance/inability to rise after collapsing 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Loss of consciousness.

If you notice these symptoms call your vet immediately. In the meantime, you need to lower your pets temperature.

  • Immediately douse them with cool (not cold) water.  To avoid shock, use a shower or gentle hose and place them in the breeze of a fan.
  • Let them drink small amounts of cool water, not too much as it could make them vomit.
  • Continue cooling until their breathing settles – never cool dogs so much that they begin to shiver.

Once your pet is cool, bring them immediately to the vet.

One of the best way to keep your dog cool is to let them splash around in a pool of water just like Buzz the terrier puppy learning how to swim at the DSPCA shelter.


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