Pet & Heat Awareness Week (5-12 June)
Beat the Heat
The temperature in Dubai can go over 40 or beyond 50 degrees Celsius. While during the summer season, over the past years, the clinic has always been confronted of cases with clinical symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat Stroke is fatal. In the reception, I have witnessed not only the emotional stress that the pet owners dealt but also the financial burden that comes with it. It is better to be on guard and take precautionary measures early than feel sorry for you and your pets later. Here are some tips to help you keep your four legged family members safe during the summer months.
• Keep your emergency information with you at all times. Keep important numbers and medical information for your pet up to date and in your wallet or by the phone at all times.
• Get to know your pet so that you can recognize an emergency. Knowing what is normal for your pet will help you recognize an emergency soon enough to take action to minimize danger.
• Never leave an animal in a parked car. The inside of a car can heat up in just minutes. Leaving the windows partially rolled down won’t do the trick. Even if you plan to be in the store for “just a minute,” your pet is at risk of a heat stroke.
Keep animals out of the direct sun in the heat of the day, (10 am to 6 pm). Dogs regulate their body temperature through panting and via evaporation of sweat through the pads of their feet. If dogs overheat, heatstroke can occur, and this can cause brain damage or even death. Older, younger, overweight, and snub-nosed breeds such as bulldogs, pugs, Shih Tzu’s, etc. can have an especially difficult time with the heat. If you opt to shave your dog’s coat, remember not to cut the hair too short, as this increases their skins exposure to sun and risk of sunburn.
Learn to recognize symptoms of heat stroke. These signs include excessive panting, drooling, rapid pulse, a rise of core temperature and collapse. Immediately run cool (not cold) water or alcohol (this evaporates heat) over the animal and place cold packs of frozen vegetables or cold cans of soda in armpits and inguinal area of your pet to cool it down rapidly. Measure the rectal temperature at the start if possible (place thermometer in anus). Ensure you stabilize the pet as much as possible before bringing it to the veterinarian. Try offering your pet electrolyte solution, fresh water or ice cubes to lick to begin to re-hydrate.
• Provide the pet with shade immediately
• Panting in cats is not normal, and if it lasts more than a few minutes, can be a sign of distress.
• Prevent sunburn. Animals can get sunburned too, therefore, protect the skin that is less covered in fur/coat of your pet with sun protection products and prevent them licking it off. Limit your pet’s exposure when the sun is unusually strong.
• Adjust exercise routines in the hot summer months and avoid strenuous exercise with your dog on sweltering days, and do not walk/workout during the intense, mid-day heat. It is recommended limiting activity to the early morning or late evening, about an hour after the sun has gone down. Be sure to bring along water, make frequent stops to allow your dog to rest and hydrate, and keep activity to 20 minutes or less.
• Please remember that talking with a friend on the street, while your dog is sitting next to you still exposes him/her to the heat and although no exercise is done can lead to overheating.
• If you do not walk the dog yourself, inform the person who is walking your dog on the risk, ensure they recognize the symptoms and check if they have the emergency numbers and know what to do.
• Test the heat radiating from the sidewalk or street for yourself. These hard surfaces absorb and hold heat. If it’s too hot for you to stand on bare footed, it will be too hot for the sensitive pads of your pet’s feet as well.
• Understand kitty quirks. Cats show similar symptoms as dogs when overcome by heat. Symptoms of heat stroke can be panting lasting more than a few minutes, causing anxiety and restlessness, tachycardia, respiratory distress or hyperventilation, lethargy, and an increased body temperature. And, oddly enough, cats affected by heat may drink less when they should be drinking more. Add ice cubes to their water bowl, or encourage your cat to drink by dribbling some water on their tongue or lips. You can also add extra water to their wet food to ensure a better water intake.
For more information on Heatstroke, please read our blog