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Heat Stress in Dogs
Increasing weather temperature could be life threatening to dogs as they can’t release heat by sweating the way humans do, thereby heat and humidity can raise canine body temperatures to dangerous levels leading to heat stress. Unfortunately, heat-related problems are among the most common summer canine ailments.
Who can suffer? Any dog can suffer from heat stress but young and old dogs, dogs with a history of heat stress, breeds with flat faces or short noses, obese and physically inactive dogs are at increased risk of heat stress.
Heat stress is a rapidly fatal condition that requires urgent treatment
How to identify? if you see your dogs with profuse panting, salivation, an anxious expression, staring without seeing, failing to respond to commands, skin that is warm and dry, fever, rapid pulse, fatigue or exhaustion, muscular weakness, and physical collapse, then your dogs must be suffering from heat stress. If so, always response rapidly to provide first aid, that may save your dog’s life.
What to do? Firstly, reduce your dog’s temperature by moving her into shade and immersing her gradually into cool water, such as bath tub or wading pool. Otherwise, pour a continuous stream of cool water over the dog’s body beginning with the head and extremities, so that she gets wet thoroughly. Apply a fan if available for further evaporative cooling. If none of them are available, instead apply wet towels to their body until it returns to normal. Even if the dog seems recovered, take them to your vet as soon as possible because their body temperature could increase again, and may cause a risk of brain damage or other complications depending on the dog’s age, physical condition, and the amount of time spent in an elevated temperature.
Things to remember:
» Do not exercise your dogs in open ground, rather shaded parks, lawns near a pond or pool or water environment should be used.
» Dog’s panting cools him by releasing body heat, but this process also can dehydrate his body. Therefore, whenever temperatures climb, provide extra drinking water.
» During summer days, always provide ample cold/chilled water periodically throughout the day.
» The dog’s house should not be sheltered in an area of direct sunlight.
» If dogs are confined to pens, kennels or in-house, keep in mind that they are ventilated
» Cooling vests and other special equipment could be used to help dogs cool.
Dr Saroj Yadav is a B.V.Sc., PGT, North American Veterinary licensed examination qualified veterinarian, Kathmandu Animal Hospital and Research Centre, Baluwatar
Contact: 4001700 (firstname.lastname@example.org)