Dehydration & Overheating in Dogs, Cats & Pets

Keep Pets Cool & Prevent Dehydration This Summer

As the temperature rises, so do the risks to your pet’s health. Check out these hot tips on how to keep them cool this summer.

Tips for keeping all pets cool

  • When possible, bring your pet inside to escape the heat.
  • Fill your pet’s water bowls with ice cubes to keep the water cooler for longer.
  • Freeze some treats! PETstock has a huge range, or try freezing watermelon, apple or cucumber for a tasty snack.

Tips for dogs

  • Swimming is a great way for your dog to get some exercise and stay cool! If you aren’t near a beach or river, a small paddling pool is a great alternative.

Tips for birds

  • Use a spray bottle filled with water to help keep your feathery friends cool this summer.
  • A bird bath is also a great option. Ensure the bath is deep enough for your bird to have a splash around, but not so deep they cannot get out on their own.

Tips for fish

  • Ensure your fish tank is away from windows and direct heat.

Tips for small animals

  • Bunnies, ferrets and guinea pigs are very sensitive to heat. It’s essential their hutch is kept in a cool, shady place and brought inside on days when the weather gets too hot.

Recognising dehydration: signs & symptoms

Your pet’s body consist of about 80% water, which helps maintain their circulation, digestion and waste removal. When the amount of water diminishes, these essential body functions are unable to work as well as they’re meant to, causing dehydration.

Hot weather, lack of shade and unsuitable air flow can all contribute to your pet’s risk of heat stress and dehydration.

Common symptoms of dehydration to watch out for in pets:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased skin elasticity
  • Panting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased body temperature

Take your buddy to the vet to be checked out immediately if you notice any of these signs.

Can pets get heatstroke?

Yes! Heat stress can occur when your pet is subjected to a hot environment without sufficient air flow, shade and drinking water. It can even occur by exercising in warm weather.

Our pets are unable to regulate their body temperature the way humans do through sweating. Dogs and cats have very few sweat glands in the pads of their feet and generally rely on panting and having sufficient blood flow to their ears to cool themselves down.

All dogs can suffer from heat stress, but those with shorter noses, like bulldogs, pugs and boxers, tend to be at higher risk. Cats can also be affected by heat stress, however their symptoms may be more subtle than those your dog will display.

How to avoid heatstroke

It is vital to provide pets an area that offers shade and good ventilation at all times of the day, and plenty of fresh drinking water.

  • NEVER leave your pet in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
  • On very hot days, bring your pets inside and avoid exercise.
  • Avoid walking on hot surfaces such as concrete, sand and bitumen.

Signs my pet has heatstroke

If your dog or cat is suffering from heat stress, they may initially show signs like:

  • Agitation
  • Panting
  • Barking
  • Hyperactivity

Once these symptoms start to appear, the effects of heat stress can escalate quickly causing:

  • Breathing to become laboured and difficult
  • A bright red tongue and gums
  • Thick or sticky saliva
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

If you suspect your buddy is suffering from heat stress, try to cool them down immediately.

  • Gently place them into a cool bath (never cold water, as this can exacerbate the problem)
  • Wipe their body with a cool, wet towel
  • Run a gentle water stream from a hose over their body

Contact your Veterinarian as a matter of urgency and prepare to transport your buddy to the clinic. Take some wet towels for the trip and have the air-conditioning going to maintain a cooling effect. This early intervention before arriving at your Veterinarian can often be lifesaving.

Water – how much is enough?

Your buddy can never have too much fresh, cool water, especially during the summer months.

  • Have multiple water bowls available, placed in the shade.
  • Provide your pet with fresh water daily.
  • Monitor your buddy’s daily water intake. ‘Normal’ intake varies from 20-70mls/kg per day, depending on your pet’s diet and activity.
  • Use a heavy container or place a weight in the bottom of your pet’s water bowl so it cannot be easily knocked over.

Some dogs and cats prefer their water dished up in different ways! While many are happy to lap from a bowl, some prefer the trickle of water from a fountain or have a habit of knocking their water bowl over.

Products we recommend for keeping your pet cool

PETstock offers a huge range of water bowl and fountain solutions and cooling products to keep your pet hydrated and safe all summer long.

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