By Emsie Martin
Most of us have already experienced the extremely hot days of this summer season and you might be thinking it’s a good time to strip you dog of his thick ruff, just as we strip of layers of clothes and walk around in swimsuits and shorts. Your pet is also hot, but first ask your vet if it is the right thing to do.
Following are some tips from the SPCA on how to protect your pet against the heat this summer:
- If possible, keep your pets indoors when it gets too hot. If that is not possible, make sure there is enough shade available to give them shelter.
- If you have birds, rabbits or other pets in a cage, shift the cage into the shade or make sure the cage will be in the shade the whole day.
- Make sure your pet has enough clean water. Add ice to the water to keep it cold.
- If your pet doesn’t eat his food immediately, keep it cool and try again later. Don’t leave the food out in the heat.
- Don’t leave your pets in a garage or closed room. And never in a parked car; it can heat up quickly and have serious consequences. Report it to the SPCA immediately if you see someone has left a pet in a car parked in the sun.
- If you walk your dog, do it in the early evening or early morning. Paving, tar and sidewalks can become very hot and burn their paws. Take water along if they should get thirsty.
- If your dog or cat is short of breath and his tongue is hanging out, take him to a cool spot immediately and give him water to drink. If you must, pour the water down his throat.
- If your dog shows signs of overheating, fill a bath or inflatable swimming pool with water and put him in the water to cool down. If your pets still show signs of heat exhaustion, phone your nearest SPCA or vet.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion
Rapid breathing and pulse, slobbering, anxiety, weakness, muscle spasms and no coordination, tongue and lips are red or blue, fits, nausea, collapse and coma.
If your dog shows symptoms of heat exhaustion, you have to move him to a cool, shady spot immediately. Sponge him down or spray him with cold water. Use a fan to cool him off further if necessary. Give him cold water to drink and take him to a vet as soon as possible.