Timbertown Vets have tips for dog safety in summer

A SAFE DOG IS A HAPPY DOG: Timbertown Vet Hospital nurse Nikki Gibbs enjoying quality time with Charlie.
A SAFE DOG IS A HAPPY DOG: Timbertown Vet Hospital nurse Nikki Gibbs enjoying quality time with Charlie.

As we come into heatwave season, Timbertown Vet Hospital are warning that our dogs face the possibility of serious heat stress or heatstroke if they’re left outside during extremely hot days.  Heatstroke sees a dog’s core body temperature elevated above the normal range.

“It can lead to multiple organ failure and animals can quickly die from it,” said Dr Alison Stuart from Timbertown Vet Hospital.

“Dogs that are elderly, obese or have a history of heart disease or seizures are more likely to suffer from heat strokes and may have a lower tolerance for increased heat.  Dogs with shorter snouts – like pugs and bulldogs – also have a harder time panting out their body heat, so may be at higher risk,” said Dr Stuart.

Signs of heatstroke include:

  • incessant panting, which increases as heatstroke progresses
  • drooling and salivating
  • agitation and restlessness
  • very red or pale gums
  • bright red tongue
  • increased heart rate
  • breathing distress
  • vomiting, diarrhoea
  • depression
  • weakness
  • shock
  • coma

Dr Stuart says no dog should be exercised when the temperature exceeds 30 degrees.  

“Dogs and cats don’t sweat the way we do.  The way they cool down is to pant.  It goes without saying that no-one should ever leave an animal in a car,” added the vet. 

That safety message has been widely publicised by the RSPCA, but sadly, a small number of dog-owners don’t do the right thing by their pets.  A dog should never be left in a vehicle in the sun, even if the temperature is mild.  

Dr Stuart says leave your dog inside in your air-conditioned house during very hot days.

Crucially, provide your dog with lots of fresh water freely available to drink. Any stagnant water can give them upset tummies. Let your dog swim safely in hot weather, and if you have a working dog, such as a herder, you should allow him to rest during hot days.

Finally, regular check-ups are an important part of animal health.