Common Dangers to Your Pets in the Summer
It’s starting to get really hot outside and with the rising temperatures there are also many risks for our pets.
In this blog I’m going to highlight a few subjects so you can make sure you’re offering the best care you can give to your pet this summer.
It’s advisable to keep your cat inside and in this blog, I’ll be talking about the risk of heat stroke, dehydration as well as paw protection so you can take good care of your dog.
The hot weather in The UAE can be very dangerous and can increase the risk of your pet getting heat stroke. Especially with dogs. Dogs don’t have as many sweat glands as we do. They do release body heat by panting but if the body temperature rises so high and panting doesn’t release enough heat, it can be fatal.
Heat stroke can happen to any dog, but especially if you have a dog that has a short snout, is ill, obese or old, has a heart condition or has had a heat stroke before, you need to take extra care.
What can you do to prevent heat stroke?
Before we go into the details of how you can recognise heat stroke, it’s better to get into how you can prevent it. Because after all, prevention is better than cure.
As mentioned above, keep your cat inside during the summer. For dog owners: try to not walk your dog at all during the warmest hours of the day. This is very important.
If your dog really needs to relieve him or herself, then at least make sure to stay in the shade only and keep the bathroom break very short. Exercising too much with your dog during the summer months is also not a very good idea.
Another thing that unfortunately still happens is dog owners who leave their dog in their car when going for grocery shopping etc. Don’t do it unless your ac is on.
Parking in the shade or keeping the window open is just not enough! Within a few minutes, your car will become too hot for your dog to breathe properly.
For example, if it’s 38 degrees Celsius outside, within 15 minutes, the temperature in your car will reach 60 degrees Celsius.
Does your dog have long hair? Maybe it’s time to call your groomer for a trim. Just make sure that you don’t trim or shave your dog’s hair too short since they then might get a sunburn.
How do I recognise heat stroke?
The first signs will be excessive panting as well as difficulties with breathing. The heart rate will go up and most often dogs will start drooling as well as vomiting and become weak. It can become so bad that they will collapse or even get a seizure.
What do I do when I think my dog has heat stroke?
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, don’t try to be a Google doctor or ask people on social media what to do.
Call your vet! He or she will tell you that you should come over right away and first put a damped towel on top of your dog and put a bag of ice on top of that. A bag of frozen vegetables will also do the job. In the car you have to make sure the AC is on full.
Once you’re at the veterinary clinic, your vet will make sure your dog doesn’t get dehydrated and will look for potential secondary complications like organ failures or changes in blood pressure.
Dehydration in pets and especially dogs is a common problem in The UAE during the summer months.
When your pet loses more water and electrolytes than they are consuming, they will suffer from dehydration.
This can cause serious issues with their internal organs, body temperature, joints and digestion.
Just like people, pets also require water to make sure their bodies are working properly. It’s essential to consume enough water every day to remain healthy and be operative.
How can pets get dehydrated?
There are many reasons why your pet gets dehydrated. Main reasons are a heat stroke as mentioned above, insufficient water/fluid intake, persistent vomiting or diarrhea, illness or fever.
What happens to your pet when they are dehydrated?
Dogs and cats lose water/ fluids throughout the day by normal activities. Think of panting, breathing, urinating, as well as simple evaporation through their paws.
When your pet eats or drinks water, the lost water and electrolytes are being replaced.
However, especially in the summer, dogs and cats lose more water and fluids due to the hot weather and their fluid intake is not enough to make up for the water and electrolytes that are lost.
What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals that naturally occur in both humans and pets and they are essential for proper health. They facilitate the movement of nutrients into cells, aid in muscle function and they also help to regulate nerve activities.
How can you recognise that your pet is dehydrated?
The first symptoms can be spotted on your pet’s skin. If you pull the skin gently it should return to its original position quickly. If it doesn’t, it might be a sign that your pet is experiencing dehydration.
Another sign might be loss of moisture in the gums, causing them to become dry and sticky with thick saliva. Dehydration might also cause a loss of appetite, panting or a dry nose.
In extreme cases, your pet might collapse if they enter shock.
What do you need to do when you think your pet is dehydrated?
Call your vet right away when your pet is showing signs of dehydration, shock or heatstroke. It’s always best to try to start the rehydration process by giving a small amount of water. Don’t give too much water at once since it might cause your pet to vomit and might further dehydrate them.
It really is important that your pet receives immediate emergency care since dehydration can be deadly.
How can you prevent dehydration in your pet?
Always contact your vet if your dog is suffering from severe vomiting and/or diarrhea. Also make sure that you keep a close eye on your pet especially during the hot summers in The UAE.
Don’t take walks that are too long with your dog and make sure you always bring water with you. They also need some extra water if they have had a lot of exercise.
Also make sure you always have water bowls/fountains around the house with clean drinking water.
Our dogs’ paws are very sensitive and can dry out or be damaged especially in summer.
Below you can find a few tips of what you can do to avoid that.
Don’t walk outside with your dog during the warmest hours of the day
As already discussed in the beginning of this blog, this might lead to a heat stroke. But not only does the air get hot, the pavement will as well. And it might get so hot that your dog can burn his/her paws.
The temperature of the asphalt can easily double. So, if it’s 30 degrees Celsius outside, the asphalt will be 60 degrees Celsius, which you can imagine is already very hot. Now in summer, temperatures can rise to over 40 degrees Celsius easily which will be damaging for your dog’s paws.
It’s very easy to check if it’s too hot to walk on. Just put your bare hand on top of the pavement and try to hold it there for half a minute without burning it. I’m sure that after a few seconds, you already feel it’s too hot for your hand. And if it’s too hot for you, it will definitely be too hot for your dog.
So, try to avoid these warmest hours and if that’s not possible, at least make sure to stay in the shade only or only grass if possible.
Use dog shoes or paw wax
I know, shoes look very odd and make your dog walk funny especially the first time. But it works and it’s the best way to protect the paws in the summer months when walking outside. The ones with rubber soles are the best.
If your dog doesn’t like the shoes, you can use paw wax instead.
Moisturise your dog’s paws
Yes, you heard that right. You can give your dog a well-deserved spa treatment by putting some special paw moisturizer on the paws. This will avoid extra cuts and cracks in the paws which your dog will be grateful for.