High summer hazards for pets

Jackson BarrettSouth Western Times
South West pet owners are being urged to consider snakes and the temperature when outside with their four-legged friends.
Camera IconSouth West pet owners are being urged to consider snakes and the temperature when outside with their four-legged friends. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

Summer can be a busy time of year, but with all that is happening, it is important not to forget the smallest members of the family.

In many ways, hot days can prove dangerous to our pets, particularly those that are naturally active.

Blair Street Veterinary Hospital vet Dr John Fulton said it is important to manage the activity of pets, particularly dogs at the height of summer.

“It is important to avoid walking the dogs in the height of the sun in the middle of the day,” he said.

“Walk them at night or in the morning when everything is cooler.

If it is too hot for you to walk, it is too hot for the dog to walk.

Unlike humans, who regulate heat by sweating, dogs need to pant to cool themselves down, which is a less effective method.

“Dogs don’t sweat through their skin, we are much better at managing heat than dogs,” Dr Fulton said.

“There are very few sweat glands on their skin which means they have to pant to lose heat through their tongue.

“Once their temperature hits over 40.6C, they actually can’t lose any more heat because their metabolism speeds up so it gets higher and higher all by itself.”

It is for this reason that leaving a dog in a hot car is so dangerous.

“There are still some silly people who take their dogs and leave them in the car,” he said.

“Cracking the windows is not recommended, leaving the windows open a little bit is not enough to cool the car sufficiently for a dog to be in there.

“It is still too dangerous.”

Dr Fulton said there were other safety concerns to be wary of during summer as well.

“There will be fleas jumping on them when they go for walks so make sure flea control is up to scratch and the snakes are out in force, so do not let the dog run in the bush unsupervised.”

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