Heat Stress



Now that we’re coming into the warmer months it is important to be aware of heat stress in your pets. Heat stress can be a very serious problem and in severe cases can quickly be fatal.

Signs to look out for include:

• Excessive panting

• Hypersalivation

• Fast heart rate

• Collapse

• Bloody vomit or diarrhoea
The biggest cause of heat stress is often due to pets being left in cars over the summer months. Even with the windows down, the car can heat up very quickly. Dogs cannot get rid of heat easily like we can through sweating, they expel most heat through panting and can only sweat through their paw pads.  A dog panting in a hot car just heats up the air in the car even faster. It can get unbearably hot even after a few minutes, so it is best to never leave your animal alone in the car over the summer.

Heat stress can also occur when exercising your animals in the heat of the day. On hot days it is safer to walk your dog in the early morning or evening when it is slightly cooler. If it is warm and you are going for a longer walk then carry some extra water for your dog. Their feet can also be sensitive to the hot pavement, so if you touch the pavement and it is burning your hand, then it may be too hot for their feet.

It is also important to be aware that dogs with long or thick coats will suffer more than their shorter haired companions in the warmer weather. For them it is like wearing a warm thick coat, which is the last thing any of us want on a hot day. If you think your dog may struggle, then it is worthwhile considering getting their coat clipped shorter for the warmer months.

The biggest pets at risk of heat stress are unfortunately our brachycephalic or flat-nosed breeds (boxers, bulldogs, pugs etc.). This is because their airways are more restricted, and so it is more difficult for them to expel heat through panting. These breeds are much more susceptible than others and so special attention must be paid to keep them cool during hot weather.

So when the weather gets warm ensure your pets have lots of water, places to escape the heat, and think twice if taking them out for activity in the hottest part of the day.

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Kohimarama Vets

325 Kohimarama Road
St Heliers, Auckland 1071