The nation-wide heatwaves have made maintaining a cool body temperature extremely tough. Even your poor dog is in pain.
To avoid overheating in this extreme heat, one must be inventive. Especially with load shedding occasionally turning off air conditioners.
And while humans can rub ice cubes or stand in front of a freezer, it is essential to remember that if we’re suffering the heat, so are our pets.
In contrast to humans, who perspire to cool off, dogs do not perspire. Marycke Ackhurst, a pet behavior expert from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, notes that unlike humans, dogs and cats rely on panting and releasing surplus body heat through their paws and nose.
Ackhurst offers the following suggestions for keeping your dog cool during the summer:
Stick to outdoor activity or walks in the early morning or late evening, when temperatures are cooler, and bring water for shaded stops.
Check the pavement’s temperature. If you cannot place your palm on the surface for many seconds without discomfort, it is too hot for your dog to walk on.
Some dogs may not understand their own limitations; therefore, you may need to intervene when they engage in vigorous activities such as running and fetching.
Keep your dog inside during the hottest part of the day and provide ample access to cool water.
Make indoor time more enjoyable to encourage children to spend their energy in alternative ways.
Why not hide their favorite stuffed toys or snacks in a confined area and let them sniff them out? To stimulate them, you could also freeze their meal and place it in a puzzle toy.
During warmer weather, little to medium-sized dogs, such as short-nosed types, require additional attention.
WATCH OUT FOR HEATSTROKE
Heatstroke is a genuine danger, and it is crucial to recognize the symptoms in your dog.
According to Ackhurst, it is essential to be aware of the following:
Excessive panting (or the sudden stopping of panting)
Rapid or irregular pulse
Anxiety, drooling, or a gazing expression
Weakness and muscular tremors or coordination deficits
Convulsions or vomiting and collapse; convulsions
In the worst-case situation, respond quickly if you observe any of the following symptoms:
Place your dog in a cool, shady location.
To lower your dog’s body temperature, wet them with cool water or place them in a container filled with cool water.
Utilize a dog fan to encourage evaporation. This will help to reduce your dog’s core temperature by cooling their blood.
Offer your dog some refreshing water to drink.
Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately for more treatment — this is an emergency.
Importantly, do not apply ice to your dog if you observe any of these symptoms, since this will restrict blood flow and inhibit cooling.