It is only the beginning of summer and already several deaths of dogs due to the heat are to be deplored. In the United Kingdom, the animal protection association RSPCA even relayed the case of a 5-year-old German shepherd who died in the middle of a walk at 9 a.m., even though he was in good health!
The 30 Million Friends Foundation therefore issues a warning to owners: heatstroke can happen quickly and it is your responsibility to ensure the well-being of your companion: " A dog on a walk does not know how to stop, it It is therefore up to you to anticipate and return home before he suffers too much from the temperature ”, warns Dr Laetitia Barlerin, veterinarian.
Our advice to protect our friends from the heat wave! ©30 Million Friends Foundation
Symptoms of heat stroke
- Increased panting: “ The 1st sign is what is called polypnea: the animal is breathing very quickly and more and more quickly. An increase in respiratory rate is always a worrying sign, especially for cats who usually rarely pant .”
- The reddening of the mucous membranes: “ If his eyes, his lips, his gums become very red and the tongue swells, he is suffering from heat stroke. When the lips turn blue or white, it's even a sign of extreme urgency! »
If you don't do anything at this stage to refresh him, his health can deteriorate very quickly and he could die if you don't take him to a veterinarian quickly. “ If he suddenly collapses, does not move, or vomits or has diarrhea, he is in shock. He can then fall, convulse and die of syncope, both respiratory and cardiovascular , ”she warns.
Emergency actions to take in case of heat stroke
In case of heatstroke of your dog or your cat, it is absolutely necessary to cool it gradually. Be careful not to create a thermal shock by suddenly changing it from hot to cold!
- “ As soon as you spot excessive panting, immediately put your 4-legged friend in a cool place. If the panting does not decrease, have it checked by a practitioner.
- Using a bottle of cold water or a jet of water if he is not afraid of it, you will first cool his extremities, starting with the head, then the legs.
- Then, wrap his whole body in a damp towel to lower his body temperature.
- Once he's wrapped in a damp towel, rush him to the vet by turning on the air conditioning in the car, ” advises L. Barlerin.
Situations and animals at risk
Heat stroke occurs mainly in 2 cases: on a walk and in the car: “ In a car, the temperature rises very quickly to 40°C in a few minutes. A dog or a cat can die in 5 minutes! », warns L. Barlerin. If you come across a dog locked in a car in direct sunlight, it is best to call the police immediately to open the vehicle. (article L214-23 of the Rural Code).
“ Breaking the window yourself, without authorization from a police officer, unfortunately exposes you to the risk that the owner turns against you for the repair costs, claiming that the life of his animal was not in danger ! warns Arnauld Lhomme, head of investigations at the 30 Million Friends Foundation.
Brachycephalic dogs (who already have physiological breathing difficulties), Persians, puppies and kittens, old animals, obese or suffering from heart problems are obviously more at risk of suffering from heat stroke. “ Those with very dark coats also store a lot more heat and are therefore particularly to be monitored ”, specifies Dr Barlerin.
Our advice for keeping an animal cool!
- Absolutely ban walks in the sun. Stick to walks limited to a few minutes, very early in the morning and late in the evening.
- “ Sports with your doggie is forbidden in the summer! Excessive exertion and heat stroke is guaranteed! “Warns Dr. Barlerin.
- Beware of the bitumen which will burn the pads and whose heat, by radiation, will inconvenience your animal.
- At home, keep the shutters closed and let him access the rooms where there are tiles.
- Have cool corners: damp bath mat, wet towel placed on a drying rack, cooling mat (which you will find in store) are refuges for our companions!
- Always leave a bowl of fresh water (not ice cold) or at best, a water fountain that will always provide refreshed and filtered water.
- Using a mist sprayer – for animals that are not afraid of it – or a wet washcloth, regularly moisten his head and body.
Read also :
Heat: do not leave your pets locked in cars!
10 tips to cool your pet