Heatstroke in older dogs

Now that summer has finally arrived, spare a thought for your furry friend who may find the heat and sun too much. Dogs only sweat from their feet and around their nose, so they use panting as a means of cooling down.

Unfortunately, if a dog cannot keep themselves cool, they may develop heatstroke. Older dogs, dogs with heart problems, those that are overweight, have thick coats or have a flat face are at a higher risk of developing heatstroke, but any dog can be affected.

What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a dangerous condition in which a dog’s body temperature rises causing many medical problems including kidney and liver failure, abnormal blood clotting and heart problems. If a pet does not receive veterinary treatment promptly then it can result in death.

Dogs can get heatstroke during exercise (which is more common on hot sunny days), or on hot days when they do not have access to shade, drinking water or a means to keep themselves cool. Heatstroke can happen very quickly and even on cloudy days, so you need to monitor your dog closely.

Here are some signs of heatstroke that you should look out for on hot sunny days:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Drooling
  • Red or purple coloured gums and tongue
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
  • Weakness or collapse

If you think your dog could have heatstroke then this is a medical emergency, and you should seek veterinary help immediately.

Keeping your pet cool

The veterinary experts at Joii have some hot tips to help keep your dog cool and hydrated this summer:

Never leave your dog in a car, conservatory or hot room

Even with open windows these places will act like an oven and your dog can overheat in as little as 10 minutes!

Walks

Only walk your dog early in the morning and in the evening to avoid the heat of the day. Try to avoid vigorous exercise and fetch games on hot days.

Plenty of shade

Encourage your dog to sit in the shade and do not let them sit in the sun on warm days between 11am and 3pm to avoid heatstroke and sunburn.

Water

Provide lots of water bowls in the house and garden and ensure you take plenty of water for your dog on a walk. Try putting a few ice cubes in their water bowl.

Pupsicles

Put your dog’s favourite treat in an empty ice cube tray, fill it with water and freeze to create tasty frozen snacks!

Keep them cool

Cooling mats and room fans can be used to help keep your dog cool.

Sunscreen

Don’t forget doggy sunscreen! Just like us our pets can get sunburn and skin cancer. It is important to apply a pet safe sunscreen to sun-sensitive areas of the body such as the groin, belly, ear tips, nose and around the lips.

To learn more about pet-safe sunscreen, call the Joii veterinary team. They can help advise you on doggy safe products to use.

 

Do you have questions about keeping your pooch cool this summer? Give our nursing team at Joii a call who are more than happy to help.

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