Hot Weather Hazards
With the summer heat upon us, it’s important that we help our pets stay cool and hydrated too! Read on to learn about some common hot weather hazards for dogs, and how to keep your pet safe.
The floor is lava: Hot pavement
Under the hot summer sun, pavement can rapidly reach scorching temperatures and will retain heat for several hours. Walking your dog on this hot surface can cause discomfort and potentially serious burns to their paw pads.
How can I safely walk my dog in the summer?
If you’re planning to take your dog for a walk along footpaths or road surfaces in summer, it’s best to only venture out early in the morning, or late in the evening after the pavement has cooled down. If you’re unsure, you can check the pavement by placing your bare foot or hand on it - if it is too hot for you to hold your skin against it for ten seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws too.
If you really need to walk your dog somewhere during the warmer times of the day, ensure you only walk them along grassy surfaces, which don’t heat up as much.
Feeling hot, hot, hot: Heat-related illness
When dogs are unable to cool themselves sufficiently in hot or humid conditions, their internal body temperature can increase beyond healthy levels. This can result in heat-related illnesses.
How do dogs become dangerously overheated?
Any dog can suffer from heat-related illness if they are unable to escape hot or humid conditions. However, pets are most at risk of dangerous overheating if they:
Are exercised vigorously when temperatures exceed 28-30 degrees, or if humidity is high
Have a thick hair coat, e.g. golden retrievers, huskies
Are a brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed, e.g. pugs, bulldogs
Are left alone in the car on a warm day
What are the symptoms of heat-related illness in dogs?
The mildest type of heat-related illness is heat stress. Dogs suffering from heat stress will show an increase in thirst and panting.
If your dog’s body temperature continues to rise past this point, their condition can progress to the severest form of heat-related illness; heat stroke. Unfortunately, this can cause life-threatening internal organ damage. Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs include:
Weakness or collapse
Disorientation or mental dullness
Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
Muscle tremors or seizures
What should I do if my dog is showing symptoms of overheating?
If you notice your dog beginning to pant heavily in hot weather, it’s important to stop all activity and move them somewhere cool (preferably to air-conditioning or in front of a fan, but otherwise into shade) and offer them cool water. You should monitor your dog closely, and phone our team if you feel their condition is worsening.
Heat stroke can be life-threatening for affected pets, so if you notice your dog showing any of the above symptoms, you should act immediately to:
Wet their entire body with a hose or bucket of water, and then place them in front of a fan or in air-conditioning to cool them down
Seek urgent veterinary care by phoning us on 9596 4804 or the nearest Emergency Centre
As a general rule, ensure that your pet always has access to cool water and generous shaded areas in summer. If they are at higher risk of overheating as per the risk factors above, it’s advised to keep them indoors with a fan or air-conditioning on hot or humid days. If you have any further questions about keeping your pet safe this summer, contact our team on (03) 9596 4804, we are always happy to help.