Sunny days are here!  That means nice days at the beach, picnics in the park and long walks to soak in the sunshine.  Humans are able to protect themselves from the heat with hats, sunscreen and sunglasses as well as sweating to cool down but what about our furry companions?

Our pet dogs can be susceptible to overheating and suffering from heat stroke with the warmer temperatures and it is up to pet owners to notice the signs so that help can be given to them when necessary.

These signs can include:

  • Not responding to your commands/calls (early sign)
  • Panting and disoriented walking
  • Fast, noisy breathing
  • Collapsing or convulsing
  • Bright red or blue gums
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling

Also keep in mind that some breeds are more prone to overheating than others, such as those with thicker coats and especially brachycephalic breeds (shorter nose, flatter faced breeds – Pugs, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Boxers, Shih-tzus etc.).  As well, breeds that are extremely active can also be prone to overheating.

So what can you do when you notice these signs?

  1. Get your pet to a cooler spot – under the shade or indoors where there’s air conditioning
  2. If you’re near a body of clean water, let your pet take a dip
  3. Offer cool water for your pet to drink, but do not force the water down as you may cause your pet to inhale the water into their lungs and cause secondary problems
  4. Use a rectal thermometer to check your pet’s temperature
  5. Bring your pet to the vet, make sure to call ahead of time if you can so that they will be prepared for your arrival

In the end the best cure for overheating is prevention.  Take your pets out for walks when it is cooler out, such as early in the morning or later in the evening.  Take them swimming instead of running and keep them in the shade with plenty of cool drinking water when you bring them out to the parks or the beach.

Sunny, hot days are rare in Vancouver so by taking the necessary precautions, both you and your pets can go out and enjoy the warmth to the fullest.