The Vancouver Sun pet columnist, Rebecca Ledger says, when it comes to dogs and hot cars, she has one key piece of advice: “Always err on the side of caution. If you’re not sure, don’t do it, because the results can be devastating — if not lethal.”

Our Vancouver Animal Hospital wanted to share some of Dr. Ledger’s tips for dog owners on how to avoid overheating this summer.

How to avoid overheating:
• Don’t leave an animal alone in a car for any amount of time in hot weather. Even two minutes can cause distress.
• Exercise caution in the cooler months of spring and fall when the sun is shining.

Risk factors:
• 78 per cent of overheating incidents happen between the months of June and September.
• Obese dogs, very young and very old animals, giant breeds and short-nosed breeds like  pugs and bulldogs are most at risk for overheating.
• Animals that don’t have access to water are most likely to overheat.

Warning signs:
• Panting, deep breathing and a high heart rate could signal overheating. The dog might feel hot to the touch and have trouble standing.
• An overheated dog’s face will appear stressed; the lips may be pulled back and the gums will be very pink.
• In extreme cases, the animal may vomit, experience diarrhea or progress to seizures

What to do with an animal in distress:
• Take the animal to a veterinarian immediately.
• Give it a drink of cold water and apply cold, wet towels to its body.
• Don’t spray it with a cold hose; this could cause the dog’s blood vessels to constrict, making it even more difficult to get rid of the heat.

We hope that these tips serve as good reminders and help avoid any distressing situations this summer. If you would like to schedule a checkup for your pet, please feel free to contact us today.

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