Plymouth has seen the temperature rise in the last two days (today is the 20th of April 2019). Although we can all enjoy the sun and take this opportunity to enjoy some time outside, we must take care of our pets, because they could quite easily become victims of heat stroke.
Fluffy or sleek, most pets can keep healthy and active in the heat, provided they have the necessary conditions (plenty of drinking water and shade). That said, certain dog and cat breeds have a greater appreciation for hotter climates — and need a bit of extra attention in the summertime.
These tips relate mostly to dogs, because they are the most common pet to go outside in the hot weather, but they are applicable to all pets that could suffer in a heatwave.
First, a list of tips to follow in order to prevent any problems during hot weather:
-Offer your pet an ice pack or wet towel to lay on
-Add ice cubes to their water dish
-Offer them access to a wading pool with shallow, cool water
-Offer access to a shady place, including using a shade screen
-Bring a collapsible water dish on your walks
-Avoid walking on hot pavement, and consider booties to insulate their paws
-Early morning or evening playtimes, exercise, and walks are best
-Give them some frozen treats.
As a rule, pets with short and thin fur can manage the heat better (for example Beagles, Chihuahuas or Dalmatians). Animals with short noses and thick coats tend to be less comfortable when the temperature rises. Bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers are some of the most sensitive dog breeds when it comes to rising temperatures. You can also consider their breed's origins, as some pets were born to face the heat and others have adapted for colder climates. Other pets that need special attention during a heat wave include giant breed dogs as well as elderly, obese, or diabetic animals.
Failing to prevent heat-related problems, it is important you know what to do when confronted with them. Here are a some useful tips.
Heatstroke: know the signs
-Rapid breathing and panting
-Excess salivation and thickened saliva
-Fatigue or depression
-Muscle tremors and staggering
If you spot any of these signs, get your pet inside, wrap them in cold wet towels, especially the underarm/belly/groin, and contact your vet if their condition doesn't improve.
Dehydration signs in dogs (and most other pets)
Try gently pinching a fold of skin at the top of the neck. Is it slow to snap back? Not all signs of dehydration are easy to detect. If you suspect your pet may be dehydrated, a trip to the vet is recommended and sometimes crucial.