COMMON RISKS TO YOUR PET ON HOT DAYS
In Part 1, we have addressed ways to keep your pet cool at home, but what about the risks to your pet? Here we will cover the most common risks to your pet in the heat and what the signs of heat stress include.
For some dogs, summer means racing around the edge of the pool whilst kids are jumping in and out and splashing about. One of the more common summer pool-related injuries I see in dogs is abrasions on their foot pads. This happens due to the perfect combination of water softening the foot pads and the pool pavers or pebblecrete then perfectly exfoliating the soften foot pads as the dog runs around the edge of the pool.
Some dogs will continue running around until they have worn completely through their foot pad to the tissue underneath. Do not assume your pet will stop running before that happens, they live in the moment, and in the moment they are having too much fun to stop. You need to be their brakes.
With artificial turf becoming more popular you need to be aware that it heats up significantly in the sun. If most of your yard is hot artificial turf, you need to make sure that your pet has the option to avoid walking across the artificial turf to seek shelter or water.
NEVER LEAVE PETS OR CHILDREN UNATTENDED IN A CAR! You have seen the videos of eggs and even steaks being cooked inside cars on hot days. Please don’t do that to your pets. Even leaving them in a car for a few short minutes is long enough to start causing irreversible heat-related damage to your pets. Don’t do it!
If you can’t hold your hand on the ground for 5 seconds without your hand burning, then it’s too hot for your pet to walk on it. Best to avoid walking pets in the heat of the day, stick to early morning and late evening if you do need to take them out for a walk.
Exercising in the heat of the day is not a great idea. Every year I see pets suffering from heat stress secondary to exercise on a hot day. Many people falsely believe their pet will stop before they overheat, as we’ve stated before, pets live in the moment, so if in the moment they are enjoying chasing the ball, going for a walk/run, they are not going to think about the consequences of not stopping. Some dogs will only stop when they collapse from heat stress.
Not providing adequate shelter is a great way to overheat your pets. Remember that your pet will need shelter as the sun moves across the sky so having a bed in the shade at only one part of the day is not providing them with adequate shelter from the heat.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from the effects of heat stress, it is important to take them out of the heat and start cooling them down by covering them in cool, wet towels or giving them a cool bath. If there are any signs of respiratory distress (breathing difficulties), they should be taken immediately to the closest veterinary hospital.
The closest emergency veterinary hospitals to Rouse Hill are:
Animal Referral Hospital
19 Old Northern Road
Baulkham Hills NSW 2153
02 9639 7744
Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH)
1 Richardson Place
North Ryde NSW 2113
02 9889 0289