Hot Dogs Are Not Cool Canines
Oh, the joy of living in sunny Singapore! Every day is a good day to go hiking, cycling, exploring green spaces, or simply hanging out at the park with our furry pal.
As a dog owner, you already know the benefits of walking your dog. Besides burning calories, you are also bonding with each other. Your dog gets to explore the world outside of home while you have the opportunity to teach it to interact with other people and pets as well as help it adapt to different environments.
Depending on the weather, we dress appropriately to look cool and stay cool. However, dogs do not have the option of changing their fur to suit the weather, so it is up to their owners to protect them when temperatures rise.
So when is it too hot to walk your dog? What are the signs of heatstroke in dogs? Find out what to do to keep your canine companion safe and cool.
Symptoms of Heatstroke in Dogs
Dogs stay cool through panting and releasing heat from their paw pads and noses. When a dog’s body is overheated, it can no longer regulate its body temperature effectively through those methods and runs the risk of getting heatstroke.
We have heard of stories where owners did not realise their dogs are too stressed from the heat. Sadly, it can be too late to save the dogs from heatstroke when that happens.
Here are some signs of heatstroke in dogs:
What to Do Immediately
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition and can happen anywhere, anytime. If you observe the signs above, immediately seek medical attention for your dog. For starters, quickly move your dog to a cool, shaded area and gently pour cool (not cold!) water over it, while arranging for transportation to the nearest vet clinic or animal hospital. If there is not enough water to give your dog a bath, soak towels in cool water instead and place them on its head and paws.
If possible, inform the clinic or hospital before heading over so that the staff can prepare to receive your dog upon arrival. On your way there, continue to try bringing your dog’s temperature down by doing the following:
Continue to place towels soaked in cool water on its head and paws.
Offer it cool water to drink but don’t force it.
If you have a portable fan, turn it on and move it around your dog to help cool it down.
Always stay close to your dog and observe its condition.
1,2,3s of Bringing Buddy Out
Prevention is better than cure. For you and your canine buddy to have the best day out, each and every single time, take the following precautions:
Choose the right time, every time!
While Singapore is hot all year round, there are cooler periods within the day which are comfortable for both you and your canine buddy to be out and about, namely early morning (before and around sunrise), late evening or night-time. It is also important to check that your dog does not get its feet hurt in the heat. Press your hands for five seconds on the ground/pavement where you want your dog to walk. If it feels too hot to you, then it is too hot for your dog to walk on – come again at another timing.
Do not leave your dog alone in the car.
If you have been working from home, you know how hot the house can get even with all the windows open and fans on. What more a car with its engine off and windows closed or barely open? Not only is it distressing for your dog to be left on its own in a small enclosed space without you, the temperature can rise 6°C very quickly in the car on a bright, sunny day – imagine it going from 28°C to 34°C in an hour! Heatstroke can kill your dog within an hour.
Always carry water and offer it regularly.
Even if it is a short walk, always bring a bottle (or two) of water for your dog. Offer it some water every 20 minutes or so. This also ensures your dog does not drink too much and too fast at one go when it gets thirsty. A well-hydrated dog is a happy dog!
If you own a brachycephalic dog or a dog with double coats, you need to be extra sensitive to its body condition on a hot day, as it gets overheated more easily. A brachycephalic dog is “short-headed” with a shortened snout. Brachycephalic dog breeds include bull dogs, Boston terrier, boxers, pugs, and Shih Tzu. These dogs have smaller airways and narrower nostrils, making it harder for them to breathe. A double-coated dog has two coats or layers of fur – a dense undercoat of short hairs under a top coat of longer hairs. Double-coated dog breeds include huskies, retrievers, collies, Pomeranian, Beagle and corgis.
Armed with this knowledge, you and your dog are sure to have a fine time during your next outing in our parks and gardens.
You can also contribute towards the Animal & Veterinary Service’s animal-related programmes through the Garden City Fund. Find out more here.
Visit NParksSG, our refreshed YouTube Channel that serves as a one-stop repository for close to 300 video resources, which includes videos on making pet treats or pet care tips. It also provides you a platform for existing and future digital outreach including DIY gardening and related crafts, virtual tours of our green spaces, and livestream events.
Text by Gemma Chong
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