With all the beautiful sunny weather and temperatures to match that we've had lately, I thought I'd write about the signs to look out and what to do if you suspect your dog might be suffering from heatstroke. A few years ago we lost a guinea pig to heatstroke whilst he was in someone else's care, due to a simple mistake, so this is a topic particularly close to my heart. The first thing is to try and take some simple steps that will stop your dog getting too hot in the first place.
On a walk:
We make sure to plan the pups walks once the weather heats up, we take him out earlier than usual, and take water with us for him. We have a bottle with a bowl attachment so he can drink on the go. If we're on the beach, as we often are at the moment, we tend to go for a little paddle in the morning on our way back home. He's not convinced about swimming, but will paddle up to his tummy, which helps cool him, and me, down after a run.
Another thing to think about is how hot the surface is that they're going to be walking on. I place my hand on the ground and if it's too hot for me then its definitely too hot for the pups’ delicate pads.
Once we're home from a walk the question arises of what to do with a pup who doesn't understand why he can't charge around the garden as he usually does. We try to do other activities with him, such as scent games, or playing in the house. Other times we bring out his paddling pool. Once its filled and a few of his toys have been thrown in, he'll entertain himself batting them around the sides of the pool, trying to work out how to get them out.
You can get toys which you can fill with water and freeze for them to play with later. Last year I made some ice-cream for the pup, out of banana, natural yogurt and peanut butter. He loves them, and they take a long time for him to eat whilst cooling him down. We have to watch that he doesn’t get them too often as they can be quite rich and upset him stomach.
Here are some of the signs to watch out for;
• Excessive drooling
• Heavy panting
• Being lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
• Collapsed or
• Vomiting or diarrhoea
• Glazed eyes
• Rapid pulse
If your dog shows any of these signs its vital to get them to a vet as soon as possible, as heatstroke can result in death. For the best chance of survival it’s important to get your dog’s temperature down.
• Move them to a cool shaded area
• Douse them in cool (not cold as this can cause shock) water, or place soaked towels on them or put them near a fan.
• Offer them small amounts of cool water to drink
• Keep dousing them in cool water until their breathing starts to settle, but not to point where they start to shiver.
Thanks to the RSPCA where I found much of the information about heatstroke in dogs, check them out for more detailed information about the most at risk breeds and types of dogs. https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/heatstroke