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Help Your Pet Beat the Heat

23 Apr 2013 | by Kritika Manchanda | Posted in: Wellness

Summers are here which means that your beloved furry friends require extra care. In the hot and humid season, it is important to keep your pets cool and avoid their contact with direct sunlight as much as possible. The summer months are difficult for almost all the dogs but for the ones with long hair and heavy coat, it becomes unbearable. The best option would be to give them frequent baths (do consult your vet, because he/she can best decide the frequency of the pet’s bathing) and keep them well groomed. The coat acts like a blanket and traps heat. Brush and comb the pet regularly to keep them clean, healthy and yes to keep them cool. You should run your fingers through the coat as this would open it up. Also the underneath skin would be exposed to air. ( Pet Safety Tips for Summers)

With temperatures soaring, heat stroke which is also referred to as sun stroke is a common phenomenon. It results when your pets are exposed to high temperature for a prolonged period. It occurs in combination with dehydration. As a result, the body’s temperature control mechanism fails. Dogs do not sweat like we humans do; their sweat glands are in their paws. This results in almost negligible sweating. Dogs usually depend on panting to exchange warm air with cool air. But during the summer months when the temperature is close to their body temperature, cooling by panting is not at all efficient.

Some common heat stroke symptoms are –

·         Panting

·         High fever

·         Anxiety

·         Weakness and fatigue

·         Disorientation

·         Dry skin

·         Reddening of the tongue

·         Difficult and rapid breathing

·         Increased heart beat

·         Vomiting

·         Sudden collapse and seizures

·         Drooling

If you see any of these symptoms, be sure that you take the pet to the vet immediately. Any delay may be fatal.

Some causes that may trigger a heat stroke include –

·         Being left alone in the car. (This is like a criminal offense. Don’t ever leave you pet in the car alone)

·         Suffering from high fever

·         Excessive exercising in sunlight

·         Being out in the open under direct sunlight for a long time

·         Confined in close place without water

·         If your pet has a history of heatstroke it is common that it might recur

You can lower down the body temperature of your pooch by placing towels soaked in cool water onto the body. Use a spray bottle to spray cool water all over the body. Wipe the paws with water. If possible, you can also submerge the pet in a tub of cool water for a couple of minutes. This would bring down the body temperature rather fast. For immediate rescue operation take the pet in a cool spot, an air conditioned room is preferred. ( Cooling Dog Coats )

NOTE – An important thing that you should keep in mind while cooling your pet off is that you should never use ice or ice cold water. By doing so the skin pores would be blocked and the skin surface would shrink. This would aggravate the heat stroke and may cause extreme stress to the pet.

Dehydration occurs when the body loses fluids at a faster rate than they can be replenished. It involves loss of water, body fluids and electrolytes. The most common causes are – vomiting and diarrhoea. Another common reason that may cause dehydration is inadequate fluid intake. This usually occurs in severe illness and high fever. If the dog is suffering from heat stroke it is common that they lose fluids rapidly and are left dehydrated. Some symptoms that you should watch out for are –

·         Dry skin - If your pet is dehydrated he skin would not be elastic at all. Under normal conditions, on pulling the skin it would regain its original position. But if the pet is dehydrated the skin would collect and fee very dry and flaky

·         Dry mouth – The gums should always be wet and glistening, but if the pet is under the spell of dehydration, the gums would become dry. Also excessive drooling can be noticed.

Follow some of the tips given below to keep your pet happy and healthy in this summer.

·         Try and keep them indoors during the hot hours. Take them for a walk early in the morning and then late in the evening. During the day try and take them in a shady and cool area

·         Give them plenty of fresh and clean drinking water. Also don’t stop them if they are splashing and playing around as this would cool them off

·         It is quite common for dogs to rest and laze around in the bathrooms during the summer months. As wet floor is a home to many bacteria and infections so make sure that the floor is clean and dry

·         Exercise is important but don’t overdo it. Overexertion in the hot and humid weather may cause heat stress to your pet

·         Keep them well groomed. It is advised that you brush and comb them every day. This would obviously help the coat remain shiny and dirt free. Extremely thick hair and a coat with lot of tangles may trap extra heat and make the pooch uncomfortable

As it is said, prevention is better than cure, so prevent your beloved before the naughty one falls prey to the scorching heat. And if the vet says that your pet has heat stroke then kindly do not panic. It is obvious for you to show anxiety, but remember your pet is the best judge of your mood. So stay calm and composed and transform the positive vibes. This would keep the pet also calm and stress free.

Spend a lot of time indoors with them, let them laze around, play with their favourite toys and even gorge on some summer delicacies including fresh vegetables and fruits. It is a great way to bond with your pet. A book, some chewy bones, an easy chair and you are sorted to spend that perfect lazy afternoon with your pet. So, happy lazing!!!

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