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A message to dog owners about keeping your best mate safe this summer!

Summer is here, and so is the sunshine! That means trips to the beach and long warm evenings - but it also means you need to remember that dogs DO NOT belong in hot cars!

On a hot day, the temperature inside your car can reach 39°C in 10 minutes. Even in the shade with the windows down, the temperature can rise to a deadly 49°C in 30 minutes. Dogs natural cooling process is ineffective in these conditions.

Dogs overheat much more quickly than humans as they sweat and they don’t, but instead they pant to disperse heat and cool their body temperature. This is near impossible to do when the air in their immediate environment is thick and hot, as it is in a hot car. Their normal body temperature is about 38.5°C and their body’s can only withstand a higher temperature for a short amount of time before irreversible damage is done.

Signs of heatstroke

If they are left in a hot car, they will soon overheat and suffer from heatstroke. Some symptoms to look out for are:

  • Heavy panting

  • Profuse salivation

  • Extremely red gums and tongue

  • Lack of co-ordination

  • Vomiting/diarrhoea

  • Loss of consciousness

If they are not removed from the car and treated quickly, symptoms can worsen to result in brain damage, or even death.

Emergency first aid

If a dog is overcome by heat exhaustion, give immediate first aid by cooling with water or other liquids (room temperature liquids are preferable as ice cold liquids can bring on shock or hypothermia).

  • Wet the skin thoroughly, not just the coat. Focus on the belly and inside of the legs

  • Spray or sponge the dog until their body temperature is lowered

  • When the dog is cooling down and responding, gently dry the body

  • If the dog is conscious give them small amounts of water

  • Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible

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