Summer Safety for Greyhounds

The temperatures are soaring! The lazy days of summer are here! Now is the time to review some hot weather tips for our hounds. Summer is a season when people and pets can have fun together, but it is also when our pets have many injuries and heat related health problems. The following tips can help avoid many of the heat related problems.

We all know that heatstroke is dangerous for humans — it is just as dangerous for animals. Learning the signs and symptoms of heatstroke may help you save your pet’s life. Animals react differently than humans to heatstroke. We sweat to cool ourselves; however, dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet. Dogs and cats can also cool themselves off by panting. The panting draws air over the moist membranes of the nose and tongue and cools by evaporation. However, panting only works for a short time. Prolonged panting can critically upset the metabolic system. The first symptoms you may notice could be laborious panting, drooling and a bright red tongue and gums. The tongue may be swollen and appear “foamy”. The inside of the ears can also appear red, not pink. The animal may appear very hot to the touch. They may have “twitching” muscles and a dazed look. The animal may then collapse. You must take EMERGENCY ACTION at this time. To cool the animal off quickly, you wrap them in a towel soaked with tepid water–in severe cases (for example if your pet has actually collapsed) you can immerse the animal in a tub of cool (NOT COLD) water, put them under a cool shower or give a cool water rubdown immediately. Heatstroke can be fatal – cooling the animal down may help, but you should rush this animal to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Never leave your pet in a parked car – not even if you crack the windows or park in the shade – this is the number one cause of heatstroke in animals and causes a number of needless deaths each year. On a 70 degree day the interior temperature of your car can rise to above 150 degrees in just minutes.

You must always provide plenty of cool, clean and fresh water to all animals in hot weather. Refresh the water bowls often and watch that the bowls do not turn over.

Outdoor pets must have a shady area where they can cool off during the day. A gentle spray with the hose can provide quick relief from high temperatures. Many greyhound owners purchase a child’s wading pool for their dogs in the summer. Greyhounds, of course, cannot be left outside in the summer because of their sensitivity to hot weather; however, when outside in the heat they love to play in the water. We know of a lot of greyhounds that just lay in the pool — enjoying the cool water!

You should not encourage exercise during the hottest part of the day. This is another leading cause of heatstroke. Intense activity causes body heat to rise, therefore, take your dogs for walks in the early morning or late evening after things have cooled down. When you do have to take your dog out during the hot times, be very careful about walking them on hot pavement or sand. Their sensitive paws can burn easily. Remember pets can sunburn just as you can, especially short haired animals that have fair coats and light skin. Their exposure to the sun should be limited. Sunburn, as we all know, can be very painful, and in animals may lead to serious complications

Your hound may have more skin problems in warm weather. Allergies are more prevalent during spring and summer months. Common pet allergies include pollen, grass, weeds, and fleas. If your pet is scratching more than usual or has raw skin, call your veterinarian. He/she will be able to prescribe medication that will make your pet more comfortable. Daily brushing will help keep your pet’s coat healthy and clean.

By all means, you and your greyhound should have fun this summer! Just remember these common- sense tips and enjoy your summer!!

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