Help your dog keep its cool in the sunshine

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At last some warm weather is her is here! But this can be bad news for your dog if they overheat. We’ve all heard about the dangers of hypothermia in winter, but what about hyperthermia?

What is hyperthermia?

Hyperthermia is when a body’s temperature gets too high. Death can be rapid if treatment is delayed.

What causes it in dogs?

The most common cause of overheating is when dogs are left in cars. It also happens when dogs bask in the sun for prolonged periods. It’s more common in elderly dogs because they tend to sleep more soundly, move less and their ability to control their body temperature deteriorates with age.

What are the signs?

The signs of hyperthermia or overheating are panting, distress and collapse. This can ultimately lead to death!

How to prevent it

Prevention is better than cure. Here are some tips:

  • Never leave your dog unattended in a car, even if the outside temperature doesn’t seem that high.
  • Prevent your dog from sitting for prolonged periods in full sunlight (both inside and outside)
  • If your dog has long hair consider taking them to the grooming parlour to have a hair cut.
  • Use doggy paddling pools to help them cool off or consider a cool mat (see my recommended products below)

What should I do?

Hyperthermia is an emergency first aid situation so:

  1. Call your vet straight away and let them know you are on the way to the surgery. They will be able to get all necessary equipment and medication ready for your arrival.
  2. Cool your dog down as soon as possible.
  3. Move them to the shade & direct a cool fan towards them.
  4. Use a shower on a fine spray setting to cover their body and head in tepid (not freezing) water.
  5. On the way to the vets keep them cool by opening the car windows or setting the air conditioning to low.
  6. You can use flannels in cold water to lay on their head. However they should be changed very quickly as they can trap heat in the body if left on for any length of time!

Do you own a rabbit?

You might also want to read Have a hoppy happy rabbit this summer.

Learn more about First Aid for your pet

I run hosted and on line accredited courses in pet first aid. These are suitable for  both pet owners and professionals. If you want to learn how to deal with an emergency situation click https://www.peteducationandtraining.co.uk/course/first-aid-for-dogs/ for online courses or for details of forthcoming hosted events  contact me

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