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4 December, 2020

Hot dogs are not good dogs

Would you run around outside during summer wearing a thick woollen jumper? Most likely not. However for our pets, dogs and cats, they do not have a choice, they cannot take their coat off and cool down.

By Peter McCullagh

It looks like it’s going to be a big summer, so crank the air conditioning up at home and in the car.

We will be right, but what about our most loyal mates, our dogs.

Summer can be brutal for them; high temperatures combined with oppressive humidity can make life very difficult for our four legged best mates.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can wreak utter havoc on your canine friend, but there are a few things you can do to keep your dog cool and safe this summer.

Prevention is always better than cure so take a few simple steps to keep your dog safe. Dogs are just not as well equipped as humans to cope with the sweltering north Queensland temperatures.

Taking your dog for a run or walk at midday can lead to disaster. Walk your dog in the early morning or late afternoon, well after the heat of the day has passed.

Whilst we might cope with a walk or a run during the day, would we feel so upbeat if we went for a run whilst wearing a full fur coat?

Before walking your dog on the footpath or road, test the temperature of the surface, if you cannot hold your hand on it for 5 seconds it is too hot for your pet to walk on.

Dogs cool by panting. They do not sweat like we do. It takes longer for them to cool down, so it is easy to overheat.

Dogs sleeping on a elevated trampoline style bed allows for air flow and  reduces heal build up in bedding.

Ensure there’s ample supply of fresh water for your dog. Multiple water bowls placed in the shade and frequently topped up, and also add ice cubes to the water to drop the temperature is a great idea.

Another great way to cool your dog on a hot day is to spray them with a fine mist. Or if you have the room a shell or paddling pool in the back yard is a great way to encourage your dog to seek a cooler spot during the day.

Labradors love the water but some of your other breeds may need some encouragement to use the wading pool.

Dogs love to go for a drive with us. We head off to the shops and take them with us. In our modern cars, with an abundance of glass, temperatures can rapidly become fatal, if we leave them locked in our cars, even for the briefest of time.

The RSPCA report that it takes no more than six minutes for a dog locked in a car during summer to suffer from heat stroke due to excessive temperatures.

Tell-tale signs your dog is struggling with heat stroke or exhaustion.

• Excessive panting

• Drooling

• Restlessness

• Very red or pale gums

• Bright red tongue

• Breathing distress

• Vomiting and Diarrhoea

• Mental confusion

• Dizziness and staggering

What to do if you think your dog has sunstroke.

Contact your local vet immediately. Position your dog inside under a fan or in air conditioning.

Wipe the bottom of their paws with a cool wet cloth, or dip their paws in a bowl of water.

Pour cool water around their neck and try to keep them comfortable and as cool as possible.

But the best advice is to get your best mate to a vet as soon as you can.

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