It sure has been a long hot summer and guess what – it’s not over yet!
When you’re shedding those layers and sweating it out, spare a thought for your pet. Humans are very good at thermoregulating during hot days as we cool ourselves via perspiration from our skin. Animals have limited numbers of sweat glands and although they are able to sweat via their foot pads, this is about the only spot where they are able to do so. In fact, your poor pet rabbit or pig has no sweat glands at all! Your pet actually cools themselves by panting. This allows them to circulate the necessary air through their bodies to cool down and causes them to be very susceptible to heat stroke.
Brachycephalic breeds (dogs with short muzzles) like the Bulldog varieties, Pugs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, to name a few, are extra sensitive to high temperatures as restricted airways mean less air being taken in with each breath and in turn, less heat loss through their respiratory tract. Black and overweight pets, elderly patients and pets with heart conditions are also more likely to overheat.
For keeping pets cool this summer, consider the following tips:
Unfortunately heat stress is very common in pets and often recognised far too late.
Dr Renee Pigdon BVSc MACVS