The heat is on: How to keep your dogs safe during summer

The heat is on: How to keep your dogs safe during summer

Staying cool is crucial, especially for our furry friends like dogs. Unlike humans, they can’t communicate when they need relief from the heat. The daily heat index updates in Cebu can be a bit daunting, informing the risk of overheating. According to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, pets are more prone to heatstroke than humans because they can’t sweat.

It’s time for pet owners to be more attentive to their dogs’ needs. This article will explore the signs of heat exhaustion and provide tips to prevent heatstroke in our beloved pets at home.

Early signs

According to Andrew Jones, DVM of Veterinary Secrets, there are five early signs that your dog may be suffering from heatstroke: Heavy panting, excessive drooling with thick, ropy saliva, a bright red tongue and gums, an increased heart rate that can be felt under your dog’s left armpit and a temperature above 104F or 40C. In more advanced stages of heatstroke, dogs may become disoriented and confused, and they may even collapse, have seizures, or fall into a coma.

Prevention tips

Filipina veterinarian Arah Virtucio shared tips in a TikTok video on how to prevent heatstroke in simple steps. She advises to remove the pet from the heat source and place them in a cool area. Heat sources could include direct sunlight, hot surfaces like asphalt or concrete or any other source of heat that could cause the pet to become overheated. The goal is to place the pet in a cooler environment such as a space in your home that has a good shade or near air conditioning vents or fans to help lower their body temperature.

Wetting them with cold water and using ice packs on important parts of their body such as the neck, armpits and groin can help. Additionally, Isopropyl Alcohol can be applied to hairless areas like the inner ear and abdomen. Virtucio emphasizes that heatstroke is an emergency and urges pet owners to consult a veterinarian without panicking if their pet shows signs of heat-related illness.

Higher risk

Heatstroke can affect any dog breed but flat-faced breeds, like Bulldogs and Pugs, are particularly vulnerable due to their unique facial structure, which can affect their breathing. Larger dogs, older dogs and obese dogs are also at a higher risk of heatstroke. It’s important for owners to be cautious, especially with breeds like the Shih Tzu, Chow Chows, Golden Retrievers, Boxers and dogs with darker or double coats, as they can absorb more heat.

Puppies and younger dogs are also at risk due to their playful nature, while giant breeds have a slower heat loss rate due to their larger bodies. Senior dogs with reduced respiratory and cardiovascular function, as well as obese dogs, are also more susceptible to heatstroke due to their limited ability to regulate their body temperature.

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