Hot pets dangerous

We are all so lucky to live in a paradise like the Okanagan.

We get to enjoy the best of the best that the valley has to offer. Your pet would absolutely love to join you to any activity in the sun. Even if the pet stays behind at home and is kept outside the house, it is important to remember pets should be protected from the sun and prolonged exposure to hot temperature that can lead to heat stroke.  

Heat stroke occurs when the body is exposed to high temperature or humidity over a long period of time. The heat-regulating mechanisms of the body are unable to effectively deal with the heat, causing the body temperature to climb uncontrollably.

Young and old animals are more sensitive to high temperatures, as well as heavy coated pets and short snouts animals such as pug, shih tzu, boxers, Pekinese, bulldogs and Persian cats.

Heat stroke is considered when the body temperature is generally higher than 40 C or 104 F.

The high body temperature affects cellular activity of all internal organs and is a life-threatening condition.

The symptoms start by heavy panting and drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, weakness and confusion.

As the heat prostration progresses. the gums become dry due to dehydration, and vomit and diarrhea may become bloody.

Terminal stages are manifested by seizures or coma, shallow breathing or absence of breathing effort and finally death.

Heat stroke is an emergency condition that requires an immediate medical care.

If your pet is showing signs of heat stroke, transfer it immediately to a cool, shaded spot, pour cool, but not icy, water on your pet. You can pour alcohol on your pet paws. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, which is helpful in cooling down the body.

First aid is crucial in the first minutes heat stroke, however your pet’s well being should not stop there.

Your pet should be checked by a veterinarian as other medical problems (kidney failure, heart, neurological, intestinal problems) could arise hours or even days following a heat stroke.

Prevention is the key. Here are few tips how to keep your pet safe.

Pets should stay well hydrated when travelling or hanging out in the outdoors. Don’t forget to bring along water for your pets.

Do not encourage your dog to run and play outside in the hot hours of the day, exercise your dog in the early morning or evening hours. 

Make sure your pet has a shady place to rest at. It is very important to remember not to leave pets in cars greenhouses or similar hot environments.

Leaving a pet in the car in the hot day, even with a cracked open window can be deadly even just after few minutes.

When you are taking your dog to the lake, don’t assume that they are hydrated just for the fact that they are in the water. Supply drinking water for them.

I hope you’ll enjoy the summer with your pet, keep everybody safe and cool and away from the vet’s office.


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About the Author

Dr. Moshe Oz owns Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital, a small animal veterinary practice in West Kelowna.

Dr. Oz has deep love and affection for animals. It was his childhood dream to become a veterinarian, a dream that he has fulfilled when he graduated with honours from KUVM,on 2006. Dr. Oz's special interest is internal medicine and surgery.

In his free time Dr. Oz enjoys training and racing triathlons, including the legendary Penticton's Ironman.

Dr. Oz can be contacted through his website: www.KelownaVet.ca

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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