My Land Rover Discovery 4 is a very practical vehicle when it wants to be, it’s reached the age when JLR expect me to go a dealership to pick a new one out. And It has as all Landies do at a certain age, developed a few little niggles. Electrical errors minor and major which require a 1/3 of the cars value to fix, so only one orange light is actually a good day for it.
So why may you ask, is there a picture of my cars instrument panel (with only one orange light and actually its accurate. With the washer bottle less than full!) . Well, the one thing you can usually rely on in a Land Rover is the outside temperature reading. This photo was taken today when the car had been out in the full sun for about 30 mins, its reading 31 degrees Celsius.
On the way back from the supermarket, I saw someone walking their black and tan medium coated dog. The unthinking owners were wearing sun hats, shorts, sunglasses, sandals and light clothing. The dog had no choice but to follow them on its lead. No sun hat, no cooling coat, no boots to cover its paws, no consideration for the fact that it was too hot to walk at that time of day. It really makes me mad that no consideration was given to the dog’s welfare and wellbeing. Already, this week dogs have died of heat stroke.
Dogs do not sweat like us, they only sweat a small amount from their foot pads and nose but the rest of heat loss is undertaken by panting, and this sometimes is not enough to stop heat stroke. A dog simply is not able to thermoregulate as well as we can, and that’s if it’s not covered by a thick coat or already has problems breathing like Bulldogs, Pugs, and French bull dogs to name but a few brachycephalic dog breeds. Dogs with shorter faces than nature designed have airway’s that are too narrow and collapse especially when panting this leaves them with very little respiratory reserve especially on hot days.
While we are singling out brachycephalic dogs, let’s also mention those dogs who are overweight regardless of breed. That extra padding/insulation and more mass of body to move and oxygenate, leaves them at a disadvantage. To be fair to the dogs, they do not go to the cupboard and feed themselves on a regular basis (Yes, we have seen a Labrador that ate most of a 12kg bag of dog food, Yes, is was very round and did not eat for a couple of days.) .
Keeping your dog’s weight in check, can have many benefits. Please ask us for help with their weight loss, we have tried and tested ways of helping your pets to achieve what can be dramatic weight loss. Less calories eaten in a way that is not just reducing an amount of food and more movement every day can produce a deficit that must lead to weight loss in a controlled fashion. Animals that are very young or very old, who have cardiac and other chronic diseases are so much more at risk of collapse and even death when they cannot cool themselves down sufficiently.
It’s even worse if they are trapped in small spaces heated by the sun like cars would be on a day like today. The slogan “not long is too long” is very accurate. Even at 22 degrees Celsius outside the car, it could reach 47 degrees Celsius inside in 60 minutes or less. Oven territory. Even with the windows open and in the shade, it’s still not safe. Dogs die in hot cars.
So what should you do to keep you pet’s safe in the hot weather?
1) Move all small pets/Rabbits/Guinea Pig/ Hamsters/Fish accommodation out of direct sunlight, into deep shade. Make sure they have plenty of bedding and it is kept clean and dry to stop
fly strike. Flies lay eggs which hatch into maggots, these maggots do eat live animals. We euthanased an old recumbent cat yesterday with fly strike.
2) Get up earlier if want to walk your dog and I mean really early like 5am! In the evening it can still be too hot.
3) If cannot do that and or your dog has any of the conditions mentioned above – DO NOT WALK IT. It will not die from missing a walk. It might die of one though.
4) Definitely do not play ball with your dog or make it jump in and out of a lake or river. It’s still going to get too hot.
5) Walk on grass to stop thermal burns from pavements and roads to unprotected paws.
6) Make sure they have access to cool water and shade at all times.
What are the Signs of heat stroke in dogs?
1. Faster, heavier panting
2. Barking, whining or signs of agitation
3. Excessive thirst
4. Excessive drooling
5. Increased pulse and heartbeat
6. Dark-coloured (red or purple) gums or tongue
7. Glassy eyes
8. Elevated body temperature of 40ºC (104ºF) and up
9. Staggering, weakness or collapse
I’ve been lucky so far this week, not having seen a dog with heat stroke that needs emergency treatment, but I have seen dog’s reaching the limits of panting. Please think before you walk your dog.