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How to recognise heat stress & tips for keeping cool…

As Brisbane temperatures rise we can tweak a few habits to keep our pooches cool.

Pathways and ground surfaces can heat up very quickly so don’t forget the palm test – if it’s too hot to keep your hand on the ground comfortably it’s too hot for your dog.  Dogs are also lower to the ground than us so they get more reflective heat.

A raised summer bed (the kind where air circulates underneath) should be available outdoors.  

Have plenty of fresh water available in the shade, at least two sources is best in case one is knocked over or spilled. You can place a large ice block in their bucket to help keep it cool longer.

A hair cut for summer is great and can give a dog a new zest for life. (Unless you have a double-coated breed which has a coat designed for insulation.) 

Extending awning blinds over patios or verandahs can reduce temps beneathe by several degrees.

On very hot days it’s ok to skip exercise or rise earlier for your daily walk and don’t forget to take your water with you.

If your dog enjoys swimming or ‘immersion’ you can purchase one of those ‘shell’ style wading pools for less than $20. 

Bring your dog into the air-con.  Particularly older dogs have more trouble regulating their body temperature and being able to come indoors or lay on the cool tiles is welcome relief.  Small to medium size dogs can be considered seniors at age 7, larger breeds at age 6 and giant breeds age 5.

Dogs with shorter faces have more difficulty cooling off and and are more prone to overheating.

Do not leave your dog in the car as temperatures soar quickly.  The RSPCA reports having around 1000 distress calls about animals (usually dogs) left in the heat of cars and have created a ‘Take the Pledge’ campaign to increase awareness.

Signs of heat exhaustion may include all or some of the following…
Increased heart rate
Excessive salivation from nose and or mouth
Tongue may become thickened and red
Gums may become blue, purple or bright red
Dry & warm nose

If these signs go unnoticed more serious signs can present…
Organ damage
Internal bleeding

If you suspect your dog is suffering heat exhaustion seek veterinary care immediately. Whilst help is being sought you can damp them down with a wet towel (tepid water) but don’t use cold or ice water as it can worsen the problem. For an excellent quick-reference poster you can print and keep on  hand, click the link below…

 Leah & Angela OMeara

Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)