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Overheating in dogs – how to help our pets survive the heat?

Overheating in dogs – how to help our pets survive the heat?

The weather is becoming warmer and everyone starts thinking about surviving the hot spring aura. Have a cold drink, turn the air conditioning on or take a plunge into the pool. We, humans, have our means. But how to help our dogs?

You have surely noticed that dogs breathe heavily through their open mouths when they are hot. They cool down mainly by such breathing and by lying in shadow, on colder surfaces (such as tiles), or even in a pit dug in the garden.

We, as guardians, should take care of our pets in hot weather. Particularly older, obese or cardiovasularly impaired animals, and also brachycephalic (short nosed) dogs including bulldogs, pugdogs and Pekingeses, need our attention. It is particularly hard for them to sustain the heat.

Signs of overheating in dogs

The overheating in your dog can lead to as much as a fatal heat stroke, so you should watch your pet for signs like:

• Fast and heavy breathing;
• Collapsing;
• Convulsions;
• Vomiting and diarrhoea;
• Rapid heartbeat.

How to prevent the overheating?

First, ensure that your dog can access cool clean water at all times. Water left in a bowl should be changed from time to time for avoidance of excessive buildup of heat or contamination. Next, your dog should be able to find shelter in shade or rest at a cool place such as a paved surface or a cooling matt. Go for walks at times best suited to the weather and to the condition of the dog. The early morning and the late afternoon are the recommended, cooler, parts of the day. Avoid intense sunlight by chosing shaded lanes or grassy paths. Try to walk slowly, do not let the dog overdo things to the point of exhaustion and always have a bottle of water. If your dog wears a muzzle, ensure that the dog can freely open the mouth and breath. Unfortunately, a close-fitting nylon muzzle can hinder this normal processes of physiological thermoregulation, which can lead to the overheating of the dog. Dogs very intolerant of the heat can be provided with cooling jackets, matts or toys.

Remember that the health and comfort of your pet depends mainly on you and it is you, as the guardian, who should take care of your dog on these warm days.

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