WHILE many of us humans have enjoyed lounging in the recent hot summer sun for hours on end, the same cannot be said for our furry friends.
Janice Porter, chairperson of Grovehill Animal Trust has this week spoken out about the potentially fatal effects that heat exposure has on our much-loved pets – particularly dogs.
One such danger, Janice warned, is that of ‘fatal heat stroke’ which is a life-threatening condition requiring immediate treatment.
“Fatal heat stroke is something that can affect our dogs very quickly – in fact a dog can die from it within minutes,” Janice warned. “The cause of this is an elevation in body temperature, and dehydration.
“This can occur if your dog is left in a hot car in the sunlight, but they are also at risk if they are left outside in the garden with no access to shade or water or exercised in hot weather.
“Short-nosed dogs, such as boxers, pugs and bull-breeds are the most susceptible to this.
“Signs of fatal heat stroke include excessive panting, dripping from the mouth and collapsing.”
Janice added, “Dogs aren’t like humans in the way they cope with heat. While a human sweats, dogs rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads.
“Under no circumstances walk your dogs between 10am to 7pm – particularly on tarmac or gravel – in this heat.
You will be doing more harm than good, and keep in mind that as dogs and cats, too, can get skin cancer when exposed to harmful sun rays.”
Janice’s top tips and tricks
• Do not attempt to exercise or walk your pet between 10am and 7pm as that when the sun is at its strongest.
• Pour a shallow amount of water in a wheelbarrow or clean tray to help hydrate birds.
• As birds tend to eat more in this heat, ensure that bird feeders are adequately filled.
• Ensure dogs who enjoy being outside have access to shade and fresh water at all times.
• Put a dollop of suncream on your cat’s ears to protect their skin from burning.
• Do not try to travel with your pet unless the journey is absolutely necessary.
• If your pet needs to visit the vet, ensure the journey is short and keep the windows of the car down.
• Keep long-haired pets groomed. A tangle-free coat will fare better in the heat.