Summer heat

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Well, the Irish summer is well and truly upon us. Yes, as I write this, I’m looking out at grey skies with not a bit of sun to be seen. At least it’s meant to get a bit warmer later this week…

On a serious note, despite the poor weather so far this year, we here at BVC have already seen a few cases of heat stroke. As temperatures rise, please be mindful that your pets can suffer from the excessive heat. Pets can become dehydrated and overheat quickly, so it’s important to know the signs of overheating. These include excessive panting, increased heart rate, dry or pale gums and weakness or collapse. To avoid overheating, try not to overexert your pet on walks, don’t walk them at the hottest part of the day and make sure they always have access to fresh water and a shady spot to sit in. Brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Boxers can be especially susceptible to the effects of heat stroke.

‘Dogs can die if left in hot cars’. It may be a bit of a cliché, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Pet owners often think leaving a window open is sufficient for their pet but this is not enough to prevent heatstroke under intense sunshine which can have fatal consequences. We all love the sunshine but it is important to be aware of the dangers that can be caused by leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle during hot weather, even for 10 minutes can prove to be fatal.

If you pet is showing signs of severe overheating, move your pet to a cooler area immediately, spray with cool (not cold) water, and give a small drink of water and contact your vet straight away. Plan in advance if you plan to bring your pet anywhere and ensure that they will not be left in the car.

Bear in mind that, particularly for the above mentioned breeds of dogs, the temperature doesn’t have to be very warm for heat stroke to occur. Even a few minutes of exertion on a warm, not hot, day, can lead to serious consequences for these breeds.