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The College of Animal Welfare

Dog in shade to prevent heatstroke
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Dog in shade to prevent heatstroke
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To walk or not to walk? Protect your dogs from heatstroke this summer…

With temperatures predicted to soar in some parts of the country this week, it is important to be mindful of the very real danger of heatstroke when exercising your dog.

Instead of walking your dogs in the heat, many dogs would enjoy relaxing with you in a shady garden. It’s important to be mindful when exercising your dog and make sure they stay cool in the warm weather:

  1. 8am-8pm: Avoid walking your dog in the heat of the day and, instead, go out early in the morning (before 8am) or late in the evening (after 8pm) when temperatures are cooler. 
  2. Water: Ensure you take some water with you and allow your dog to drink regularly.
  3. Pick your route: Think about your route beforehand; walking in cool woods, or alongside fresh clean water in streams or lakes can help your dog keep cool.
  4. Toys: Throwing toys for your dog to chase is not a good idea in the heat, instead go for a gentle stroll to prevent overheating.
  5. Know your dog: Elderly, young, overweight or dogs with flat faces or existing medical conditions are not as tolerant of the hot weather, so it is even more important to be careful with these dogs.

Signs of heatstroke

Prevention is always better than cure, but below are some danger signs to look out for that can indicate a dog is suffering from heatstroke:

  • Heavy/loud panting
  • Drinking more than usual
  • Staggering and/or collapse
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Red or purple tongue and gums
  • High body temperature

What should I do if I suspect my dog has heatstroke?

Heatstroke can be deadly so you must take action immediately:

  • Take them out of the heat: Move them to a cool place such as an outside shady area or cool inside room.
  • Give them water: Offer small amounts of cool water.
  • Cool them down. Using cool (but never very cold water) either douse or spray the dog with water or drape it in wet towels.
  • Breeze: Then place the dog in the breeze of a fan if you have one available or try to create a breeze to cool them.
  • Most importantly, contact an emergency vets for advice as soon as possible; heat stroke can be fatal.

As pet owners it’s vital that you know what to do with your dog in an emergency situation. The College of Animal Welfare offer an online Principles of Animal First Aid course to help prepare you for all types of first aid situations.

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