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Animal Still in Danger as Summer Soars

February 16, 2014

The holidays are over but pets are still in danger as we move into the hotter summer months. As NIWA predicts above average temperatures for the coming three months, it’s important to understand that animals are still in danger of heat-related ailments.

Warnings about dogs in hot cars are commonplace throughout the holiday season, but keep in mind that this is still important advice right through autumn. Even with windows slightly open, temperatures inside cars will soar.

You should avoid excessive exercise of dogs on hot days, and where possible, walk dogs before the sun comes up, and after it goes down. Do it at an easy pace – if temperatures are in the 20s or higher don’t take your dog running. Excessive panting or exhaustion are signs dogs should immediately stop exercising and return to shade and water.

Heatstroke may occur in hot conditions or when an animal has a lack of shade, air circulation and/or water, or is in extreme humidity. Dogs can only lose heat through their paws (they don’t sweat like us) or by panting , and high humidity reduces the effectiveness of this. Heatstroke is an emergency and requires medical attention by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, anxiety or depression, refusal to obey commands, warm and dry skin, high fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting and collapse. If you suspect heatstroke you’ll need to act immediately before you get to a veterinarian. Wet the coat with cool water, and apply towels soaked in cool water to hairless areas. Even if/when the animal starts to respond, veterinary attention is imperative.