How to care for your house pets in the heat

• If it feels too hot to the touch it’s too hot for Wagter’s paw pads

Photo: www.blinkydog.com

Photo: www.blinkydog.com

By Walter Bakker
During the cold and long winter months we tend to await summer with longing… as we imagine all the braais, the socialising with friends, and the taking our dogs for long walks…

Yes, the much loved, or dreaded walkies… so loved by our fur friends as they get to socialise, sniff and wag their tails gleefully and constantly. Walkies, an activity that can be as social for the human walker as fellow walkers invariably stop, chat and compare notes on their pet’s health and diets… whilst their charges sniff away happily…

In these days of extreme heat however give a thought to our fur covered friends and consider ways we can assist to keep them as cool as we possibly can.

• The big one is of course never ever to leave a dog or any pet in a locked car, not even “just for a few minutes” whilst we dash to the ATM.

The speed of temperature build-up in a locked vehicle is frightening and can dehydrate an animal in minutes… and even rapidly cause death.

On a 30 degree day the temperature within a car can reach 39 degrees within 10 minutes… and that’s with the windows opened at a crack.

After 30 minutes it can reach degrees in the late forties! Enough to kill your dog.

• If you leave Wagter at home alone, ensure he has a space he can really chill. A tile floor for example is way cooler than a carpet.

Leave the aircon on and close the curtains.

Otherwise leave a fan blowing and lay down a wet towel.

• Walk your dogs in the early morning hours or late afternoons/early evenings and always take water – not only for yourself but even more importantly, for your beloved dog.
If walking on any kind of cement, tar, asphalt or paving, test the temperature of the surface first.
If it feels too hot to the touch (palm down) it’s too hot for Wagter’s paw pads.

• Add ice cubes to Wagter’s water and make sure there is plenty of shady areas where he can chill, and thus conserve energy.
Dog kennels are just too hot to be of use in the warmest summer months as they trap the heat and can be several degrees hotter than the outside temperature.

• A kiddie pool under a shady tree is fun, and cooling, and not just for the children… most dogs love splashing in water.

• Make tasty ice cubes with tasty treats inside for chilly, and overall cooling snacks.

• If, besides high temperatures the humidity levels are up, keep the dog inside.
They struggle to pant enough, which can raise their temperatures which can lead to heat strokes.
Stay inside.

• Cover the dog with a wet towel if he or she shows signs of overheating.

• No matter how well you think you can “read” your dog, watch out for these signs of overheating:
– Heavy panting;
– Heavy drooling;
– Trouble breathing;
– Rapid heartbeat;
– Dark or red gums and tongue;
– Dizziness;
– Weakness;
– Agitation.

If you see any of these signs, get him to the vet right away.

Do remember that only “mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun…” (Noel Coward).

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