Imagine a hot day from your dog's point of view. Your dog may be suffering without you being aware it's happening.
Dr Andrew from Walkerville Vet has measured the temperatures of common surfaces on which dogs are walked every day. Paving, road surfaces and beach sand are all at 60 degrees on a moderately hot day. These temperatures are enough to be painful and cause burns to the feet of dogs. See the video link below.
Dogs are at danger in hot weather because:
- Dogs rarely complain and will obey what their owners do unquestioningly even if it causes them pain or heat stress.
- Dogs are unable to sweat like humans and are poorly adapted to hot conditions.
- Dogs have no protection on their feet to prevent burns, and owners wearing shoes are unaware of the temperatures dogs are experiencing.
- Some breeds such as Pomeranians, Malamutes or German Shepherds have excessively heavy coats.
- Panting is inefficient, especially in short-faced breeds like Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs.
The fact is, our dogs are descended from the wolf, an animal of high latitudes where the sort of hot weather we see in Australia almost never happens. To reduce the risk of danger from hot weather, Walkerville Vet advise:
- Dogs are only exercised in the early morning or after sunset. Air temperatures can still be high at these times and common sense is still required.
- Care with high energy activities like ball chasing or running. These may not be possible at all with some dogs.
- Getting a professional groomer to clip heavy coats at the beginning of summer.
- Preventing dogs being overweight by managing the food intake appropriately.
- Not confining dogs without access to cool areas. Dogs are best allowed inside a cool house on hot days or taken to a cool place.
- Ensuring there is ample fresh drinking water available and that it cannot be tipped over or spilt.
- Watching closely for signs of heat stress.
Signs of heat stress include:
- ?wobbly, unsteady walking
- disorientation or collapse
- extreme panting and drooling
- dark red gums
If your dog shows signs of heat stress:
- Stop exercise and move your dog to a cool area
- Apply cool (but not iced) water to their body, especially neck, armpits and groin.
- Provide cool drinking water.
- Travel to the closest vet as quickly as it is safe to do so.
Many dog owners are unaware that their dog is in danger in hot weather. Our video also shows that any dog walking on normal streets on a hot day is likely to be experiencing significant pain.
Independent veterinary clinic in Adelaide, South Australia who care for companion pets including dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, rats and chickens.