FEELING THE HEAT: Dr Cameron Keller making sure that Gus the border collie isn't feeling too hot at Riverbank Animal Hospital.
FEELING THE HEAT: Dr Cameron Keller making sure that Gus the border collie isn't feeling too hot at Riverbank Animal Hospital. Jarrard Potter

Don't forget about your pet this summer

WITH summer now in full swing many people are trying to find ways to stay cool, but it's not just us humans who are feeling the heat.

Heat stress is a serious condition many pets face over summer, and Riverbank Animal Hospital clinical director Chris Gough said all pets are at risk of suffering from the effects of excess heat.

"Our pets can't sweat all over their bodies like humans can," Dr Gough said.

"They rely on panting to get rid of the hot air and only produce a small amount of sweat through their footpads. This makes them extremely susceptible to heat exhaustion in hot and humid conditions."

Dr Gough said signs of heat stroke include excessive panting and drooling, staggering and seizures, lethargy, weakness, vomiting and bright red gums.

"All pets are at risk but dogs with a short nose, such as pugs and bulldogs, overweight pets, pets with heart or respiratory problems or those with thick, furry coats are at greater risk," Dr Gough said.

To keep your pet cool this summer, here are some tips from Dr Gough:

  • Make sure shade and cool water is always available. On extremely hot days, leaving your pet outside may even be dangerous.
  • Never leave your pet in the car as the temperature can reach dangerous levels in just a few minutes.
  • Parking in the shade or leaving the windows partially open is not enough.
  • Exercise your pet in the cool of the morning or evening.
  • Some pets will need to have their heavy coat shaved to provide some relief from the heat.

Dr Gough said heat exhaustion can be fatal, so keeping an eye on any potential danger signs is important.

"If you suspect your pet is suffering heat exhaustion, take it to a vet immediately," he said.



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