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Help your pets beat the heat

This heat wave facing northern BC may seem nice to some people but could be dangerous for your pets.

Temperatures are expected to reach the low 30s this week meaning heatstroke and heat exhaustion should be something to watch for. These can cause multiorgan dysfunction, like kidney or respiratory failure, which in some cases could be fatal.

Dr. Sara VanderKraan, a veterinarian with the Prince George Veterinary Hospital, says while this is a concern for most of our furry friends, there are a few dog breeds that are most at risk.

“Bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese, [boston terriers], all their little pushed in noses, unfortunately, don’t make them very good at cooling in hotter weather.”

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Things to watch for include environmental heat and places with high humidity says Dr. VanderKraan, as well as keeping your animals out of confined spaces without shade, and especially vehicles. Obese animals and ones with medical conditions such as seizure disorders can also be factors for heatstroke.

So how can you prevent it?

“Always having a cool place for your animal to go is very important, even your outdoor animals should always have a shady, cool area to go to and making sure that they have access to cool water at all times.

“If you do see the clinical signs that your animal is in distress due to heat, so that can be panting excessively, being quite restless, drooling, sometimes unstable on their feet, if you are concerned there is heat stress happening to your pet you should bring them into a vet hospital.”

In the meantime, Dr. VanderKraan recommends putting cool water over your pet, not ice water as it can worsen their ability to get rid of heat. Other cooldown strategies are soaking your pet with a cool towel without wrapping them in it since it could keep heat in, target the feet because that is where dogs sweat, and make water available but do not force them to drink.

Stopping the progression of heatstroke is important but Dr. VanderKraan warns the damage could already be done so if there are any concerns she says to take them to the vet.

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