Summer is more than here and we are all cooling off in the air con, sipping on frappes and having our freezers stocked with ice creams.
What about our pets? What can we do to help them cope with the heat?
What breeds are affected by the heat?
Every single one of them! Dogs, cats, rats, b
irds, etc., some breeds more so than others.
If you own a ‘smoosh faced’ pet, you will have
to be extra-cautious over the next few months.
These breeds have narrow airways and heat stress makes
it harder for them to get the oxygen they need.
Our extra-furry friends require extra-TLC during this
time to prevent them from getting ‘hotspot dermatitis’.
As the name suggests, it is an infection of the skin that
occurs primarily due a hot and moist environment. If your
pet is a double-coated breed this means daily brushing,
ideally with a brush such as the furminator (one that thins
out the undercoat). Others suchs as the malteses, poodles,
etc require grooming in addition to daily brushing to keep their
skin and coats healthy.
Animals are limited to how quickly they can cool down as they don’t perspire like we do. They maintain their optimum temperature mainly by panting.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your pet cool through the next few months.
Heat strokes can be fatal; if it is too hot for you it is too hot for your pets!
No pets left in cars please, even with the
Ideally keep them indoors in the air
conditioning or in a well ventilated room.
Outdoor pets must have access to a well-shaded
area through-out the day, such as a patio
not just a kennel!
PLENTY of access to fresh water.
You can improvise by having ice blocks or frozen
kongs stuffed with food for them. If you are feeling
like they need a bit of extra-pampering make some
stock from scratch (left over chicken carcasses are
great but bin the skin!) and freeze it for an
No walks in the heat, pretty please.
When walking your pets in the evening, please
check that the pavement is cool enough. We have
seen too many paw-pad burns. Imagine walking with
burnt soles, ouch!! Paw pads take forever to heal
and get secondary infections very easily.
Keep them in good body condition, obese pets
are much more likely to have a heat stroke especially
breeds like the pug, boston terrier, bulldog etc.
Now coming to managing a heat stroke:
Prevention is way better than a cure; please follow the above tips to keep your pet cool.
Watch out for the signs of a heat stroke: excessive panting and salivation, vomiting, restlessness and pacing, uncoordinated walking, collapse or seizure (scary stuff eh?).
First aid first: Soak a towel (in cool water, not in icy water) and place it on your pet.
Focus on wetting the head, belly and feet. Then, wrap them in a wet towel (re-soak and rinse the towel before doing this). When the towel gets warm, repeat the process.
Call your vet, describe what your pet is going through and get advice on what to do next.
Stay cool folks, until next time!
Dr P. Saldanha