Beat the heat for your pets

panting dog

What is heat stress?

The normal temperature of a dog or cat is around 38.5 degrees.  A rectal temperature above 39.4 is generally classed as abnormal.  
When your pet overheats they may pant and be thirsty.  They may lie flat on a cool surface and seek shade. 
You can help them by providing cool water and shade, a breeze on a damp coat will cool them quickly but don’t use icy water as it can make them worse.  If cooling them with wet towels you must replace them regularly to ensure they keep cooling. 
If they are lethargic and can’t seem to cool down it is important you get them to see us as soon as possible.

What is heat stroke?

We most commonly see this condition in working or hunting dogs who have been exercising excessively on a hot day.  Dogs regulate their body temperature by panting (and a tiny bit of sweating on their pads and their nose).  When the panting is not sufficient to get their temperature down they can go on to develop heat stroke.

A rectal temperature above 41 degrees can lead to serious damage to internal organs, blood vessels and their brain.

Signs of heat stroke
-pale or dark red, dry gums
-vomiting and diarrhoea (which may be bloody)
-blood clotting issues 
-liver and kidney disorders

How to keep your pet cool

Any animal can become heat stressed but we have to be extra careful with high risk pets, such as those that are overweight, have thick or dark colours coats, are brachycephalic (these breeds have a short nose and compromised breathing), are very young or old or unwell.

Always ensure your pet has plenty of clean, cool water.
Provide them with shade and ventilation and be aware that some kennels can get very hot inside.
Groom them regularly to ensure their coat is thin and not matted.
Provide them with cool treats on hot days

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