Category: Press Release
Last Updated: July 9, 2010
DOG DAYS OF SUMMER CAN BE LIFE THREATENING TO YOUR PET
Hot Weather and Cars Pose an Extra Risk to Your Dog's Health
KINGSTON ON-Hot and humid summer weather has arrived and that can mean an extra challenge for your family's pet dog. With limited ability to sweat, dogs left in cars are especially susceptible to heat stroke and need to remain cool and be provided with plenty of water.
"Heat stroke and even death can occur when a dog is left in a hot, unventilated area," says Stephen Toy, an Ontario SPCA inspector with the Kingston Humane Society. "Even when your car is parked in the shade and windows left open, internal car temperatures can rise quickly enough to cause heat stroke or even death to a family pet. On a 30°C day the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 39°C within 10 minutes and, within 30 minutes the temperature many increase to 49°C. Some days you are doing your pet a favour to leave him or her at home," Toy says.
Dogs rely on panting, ventilation, and plenty of water to help them keep their body temperature at a safe level. A dog's normal body temperature is 38-39°C. A rise to 41°C can become dangerous to your dog's health.
As the days grow warmer, the Humane Society is expecting an increase in the number of calls they receive regarding dogs left unattended in cars. "If you leave your dog unattended in a car and we receive a call from a concerned citizen or the police, we will respond," Inspector Toy says. "Our objective is not to embarrass or harass pet owners. We want to ensure the animal is not in distress and to alert the pet owner to the dangers of heat stroke and how quickly car temperatures can rise. In many cases dog owners appreciate everyone's concerns."
Take precautions at home
The Humane Society is also asking dog owners to take precautions with their pets at home. Steps owners should take include:
- Restricting time outdoors: Provide your pet with short periods of time outdoors with lots of water and a cool sheltered place out of direct sun.
- Exercise your dog when it's coolest. Schedule your dog's exercise activities for the morning and evenings, when temperatures are coolest.
- Know your pet's challenges: Certain breeds of dogs, puppies and those with existing health conditions are higher at risk. Northern breeds of dogs and those with short-muzzles, such as boxers and pugs, have greater problems dealing with the heat. Puppies and dogs on medication, overweight or suffering from a health condition are also more susceptible to heat exposure.
Heatstroke and your pet
Even the most cautious dog owner may find themselves dealing with heatstroke. The Humane Society recommends that every pet owner know the signs of heatstroke, give first aid and always seek medical attention as health issues resulting from heatstroke may not show up right away.
Signs of heatstroke include:
Increased heart rate
Excessive panting or drooling
Confusion or disorientation
Bright red gums
Vomiting or diarrhea
Collapse, seizure or coma
Body temperature of 40°C or greater
Suggested first aid:
Move your dog out of the heat immediately.
Use a hose or wet towels to cool down your dog down. Do not use ice.
Take your dog for veterinary care immediately. Continue to cool your dog with wet towels.
If unable to get to a veterinarian right away, continue to cool your dog and monitor its temperature. Once his/her body temperature lowers to 40°C, stop the cooling process. If his/her body temperature drops too low there is an increased risk of shock.
Additional information on summertime dangers for your pet at