Keeping Pets Cool During Summer
Pets will release their excessive body heat through panting and through their paws, however in higher temperatures, this makes it harder for pets to lower their body temperature and this can progress the possibility of heatstroke.
Early signs of heatstroke include excessive panting and distress, excess saliva, prompt heart rate, wobbly gait, lethargy, seizures/collapsing or a temperature from 40+ degrees. Sometimes the gums can display a colour of bluish-purple or bright red, which indicates inadequate oxygen intake. These signs are dangerous and can potentially lead to organ failure and/or death if the temperature cannot be reduced, so immediate action is to be taken (CONTACT THE VET!!).
When you’re on your way to the vet, keep the pet cool with the air conditioner, offer plenty of cold water and have it in reach, keep the pet quiet and keep stress to a very minimum. You can also use a spray bottle full of water to cool them down.
Some tips on how to prevent heat stroke during these warmer months include:
- ALWAYS have fresh, clean water available at ALL TIMES!! During the hotter weather, you can add ice cubes to their water. You can also make ice cubes fun and a treat by freezing their favourite treats or food inside of them. Some examples include: crushed tuna, chicken, beef or chicken stock/broth, etc.
- Keep a couple of water bowls full and available in multiple places around the house for them at all times. For example – if the pet is indoors, keep one near their food and another in the lounge room.
- Provide shade. If your pet is an outdoor pet, always have adequate shade available for them. Keep your rabbit’s hutch in the shade.
- Avoid walking on hotter days. If you decide to walk them, aim for early morning or evening – It’s recommended avoiding times from 11am-4pm as it tends to be hotter during those times. A weather temperature around 25 degrees and under is suitable.
- A tip to see if it is too hot for your dog to walk – place the back of your hand onto the pavement or road. If it is too hot for you to leave it there for 5 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.
- NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN A CAR BY THEMSELVES! If you are getting out of the car, take your pet with you.
- Provide a damp, cool towel for them to sit on. With pocket pets, bring their hutch inside into the air conditioning if you can. Otherwise, cover their hutch with a damp, cool towel and hose their hutch down with cool water every now and then.
- Offer a shallow, paw deep pool for your pet to walk through. Provide a sprinkler to be on during the day for your pet to run through and drink.
THE AUSTRALIAN VETERINARY NURSES JOURNAL