In the Heat of the Moment

The warmer months allow us to spend more quality time with our pets.  Whether it’s sitting in the garden with the cat snoozing in a patch of sun next to you or taking your canine buddy to the beach to splash around in the waves, summer offers plenty of opportunities for soaking in the sun outdoors.  However, we must also be careful to protect our pets from the negative effects of the sun, particularly heat stroke.

Dogs and cats are at risk of heat stroke if they are left in hot, confined spaces lacking in ventilation such as the car, or left outside in the sun with no access to shade and/or water.  Dehydration results, and the pet is usually found exhausted or collapsed and very hot to the touch.

If you find your pet in this state, it is an emergency situation and he or she should be rushed to the veterinarian immediately.  IV fluids should be provided, and the vet will probably recommend keeping your pet in hospital for at least 24-48 hours.

Prevention of heat stroke is simple- avoid leaving your pet in small spaces, such as the car, during summer.  If it is necessary to leave them in the car, you should ensure that it is parked in the shade, the windows are left slightly open for ventilation, and the time should be kept to an absolute minimum.  If left outside during the day, the pet should have access to plenty of shade and clean water, which should be changed daily.  All animals are susceptible to heat stress and the general rule is, the smaller the animal, the greater the risk.  So even pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rodents, reptiles and birds should be housed in the shade or indoors and have access to plenty of clean water.  With these precautions in place, all the furry, feathered and scaled members of the family can enjoy the warm weather comfortably.

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