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Dogs and hot weather

(35 Posts)
GannyRowe Sun 01-Jul-18 11:17:41

This has just been posted locally. It’s content may be upsetting for some. But if it saves any dogs life, it’s worth it!

*Heatstroke Warning for Dog Owners*
This was posted by a local vet in a local group; they have given permission for it to be copied.
Today a dog died of severe heat stroke – exercised at 9 o’clock in the morning. If it was a child, the parents would be convicted of man slaughter and sent to prison. The long coated dog was being exercised in the local park at 9am this morning – it was already 21˚C. The owners where throwing a ball for the dog. Our loyal faithful friends will still pander to our requests of going with us for a walk or fetching the ball thrown even when they are under extreme stress of excessive heat. They don’t know to self regulate, because their pack leader has instructed them to walk with them or chase a ball etc.
I turned up to the local park to park my car and walk to work. It was in the car park that I discovered the dog with the owners next to their car, suffering from severe heat stroke. The scene was; the dog lying flat out on his side, semi-conscious, with extreme panting. His mouth and tongue were swollen up and a dark red/purple colour, there was a white frothy coating of saliva, the tongue and gums being fairly dry. The owners were trying to get the dog to drink some water, but the dog was entirely unable to do so. His belly was distended from panting and gulping air; this in itself can then restrict breathing. I was not equipped to take the dog’s temperature, but I could feel it was dangerously high. His pulse however was unusually slow. I had water in my car and dowsed the dog’s coat down and we wetted a towel to stretcher the dog in to the car and for him to lay on in transit. The dog was not registered with my practice, so I instructed the owner to take the dog to their own vet immediately.
Once I had finished my shift at work, I phoned the owner’s vet to see if they could tell me how the dog was. He was dead. A 5 year old, fit and healthy dog - dead. A death that was completely preventable. I asked the vet for detaila explaining that I was going to write this post. They were in support as long as names weren’t mentioned. Names are irrelevant, as this story will be happening all over the country.
The owners took the dog straight to their practice were he was treated immediately. His body temperature was just shy of 42˚C. A normal temperature range for a dog is 38.3˚C to 39.2˚C, a rise of just 1 – 2˚C can have major effects on the dog’s body systems. The nurses commenced cooling of the dog and the vet put him on a drip with rapid infusion of fluids and electrolytes. However, within 10 – 15 mins of being admitted the dog began to seizure. Seizures are caused when the electrical impulses in the brain misfire and cause like an electrical storm in the brain so the muscle fibres of the body rapidly twitch uncontrollably. In this case, the excess heat in the brain disturbs the electrical impulses. This is an added issue as the activity of the muscles then acts to increase the dog’s temperature even more. It was at this point that the vet went to gain consent to administer anaesthetic to the dog to try and reduce the seizure and lower the respiratory rate. But as the vet was talking to the owner, approximately 20 mins after arriving at the practice, the dog began to vomit and pass diarrhoea. The vomit and diarrhoea was full of blood. This even to the untrained reader, you can appreciate is bad news. Once this was discovered, the dog’s gums were checked and small red/black spots were present, along with areas of bleeding on the abdomen. At this point the vet had to return to the owners and request consent for euthanasia.
The dog was suffering from disseminated intravascular coagulopathy. This is a fancy veterinary term that means the dog’s body systems was unable to clot his blood and therefore he was bleeding internally. In the veterinary world, it is nicknamed Death Is Coming. The process is not fully understood, but it is thought that the excess temperature prevents the body from performing the myriad of chemical reactions that allow it to function normally. Loosely, this causes the body to activate clotting, causing hundred of clots within the body. Once all the clotting factors are used up, the blood can no longer clot, so widespread haemorrhage ensues. It causes major organ failure; the kidneys, the liver, the heart and the lungs cease to function effectively. With a bit of luck, the dog is unconscious by this stage, as this must be hugely uncomfortable and a terrifying death.
For all those dog owners who think this was because the dog was chasing a ball and that is why he overheated, this can happen with your dog sat in the sun in the garden. It can take up to 60 days for a dog to acclimatise to a change in climate. I am pretty sure 60 days ago it was pouring with rain.
Once the dog becomes mildly overheated, unless they are cooled, they will continue to overheat. Dogs cannot sweat effectively and can only really lose body heat through panting. The process of panting can in itself cause excess body temperature if it is prolonged or laboured.
So, if you think it is too hot to put a thick coat on and go for a run, don’t make your dog do the same. If you think it is too hot to sit in direct sunshine for more than a few minutes whilst wearing a woolly jumper, then don’t make your dog do so. If it is too hot to stand on the pavement with your shoe and socks off, then don’t make your dog walk on it. If you don’t want to sit in your car without the air con on even if you have all windows wound down, don’t leave your dog in the car.
If you are ever in any doubt of how to care for your dog in the warm or hot weather, speak your local vet practice. Better to speak to them now than your vet speaking to you to request consent for euthanasia.

Teetime Sun 01-Jul-18 12:28:40

This is my daughters dog who spends most of his time lying on a cold tiled floor or in the pool.

Fennel Sun 01-Jul-18 13:02:17

When we lived in France the temps. were often up in the 30s, as they are at the moment.
We had a long-haired border collie and she knew to lie in the shade, sometimes on her back on the grass to cool her tum. And drink lots of water.
She liked to cool off in the pond too, but this time of the year the pond is usually dry. So I sometimes took them down to a nearby river for a dip.
But she was born and grew up in that climate. We and our pets aren't used to it.
ps "them" - we looked after a neighbour's spaniel cross, who loved the water. When he got old I once had to drag him out of a fast flowing stream when his legs weren't strong enough to swim.

polyester57 Sun 01-Jul-18 13:02:40

Thank you for posting this GannyRowe. What a sad story! I consider myself to be a responsible dog owner, would never leave a dog in a car, even on a cold day. But I wasn´t quite aware of just how serious overheating can be. My dog hates it when it is this hot, he always heads for the shady side of the street when we´re out walking. He adores chasing a ball however and will do that even in the scorching sunshine, his tongue lolling, he keeps coming back for more. I always thought that as long as he was happy doing it, there wasn´t a problem. Surely, he´d know when to call it quits if it got too much for him. I´ll definitely be more careful in the future.

Nanabilly Sun 01-Jul-18 13:08:51

We went to our caravan site yesterday to empty van for a service this week and I left my dog at home. I was shocked at the amount of dogs that were being walked around the site in stupidly high temperatures in the middle of the day and owners stood around chatting too while dog was getting hotter and hotter and on tarmacced roads too so poor dogs pads must have been so hot.
Irresponsible dog owners at their worst.

J52 Sun 01-Jul-18 14:19:15

Such a sad story. The last paragraph says it all.

We’re dog sitting today for friend, who didn’t want to take her on a long, but necessary days journey.
She’s been in the garden under the table shaded by the sun umbrella and is now on the cool stone floor.

grannyactivist Sun 01-Jul-18 14:30:24

Post much appreciated * GannyRowe *. flowers
What a heartbreaking tale - the dog's owners must be distraught. My own (black) dog has had his walks considerably shortened in the hot weather and every walk has included a dip in the river, but he has continued to chase his ball. I shall be even more careful from now on.

sodapop Sun 01-Jul-18 14:35:57

Several sad stories in the news about this issue, so easy to assume our dogs will stop when they are too hot. Why do people take their dogs out in cars in the heat, they would be much
happier and safer at home. It's 36 degrees here, my dogs are comfortable indoors as am I.

GannyRowe Sun 01-Jul-18 15:08:30

Like you, I thought my dog would just stop returning the ball if she was too tired! Though as she got older I am far more sensitive to the temps for her walks. But this story has really opened my eyes too!
Post and re post, maybe we can really get the message over if enough people did just that.

GannyRowe Sun 01-Jul-18 15:10:57

Don’t forget, it’s not just dogs getting left in cars! It’s idiots walking dogs no matter what, just because they always have, doesn’t mean they always should! A beloved dog won’t die if it misses a walk once in a while.

Grannyben Sun 01-Jul-18 20:59:40

My little pug hasn't been out for 2 weeks. I learnt my lesson when I first got him, I took him out for his usual walk and thought I had killed him. I do have quite a large garden so he can get outside when he wants but, he is a bit dippy, he will sit in the blazing sun until I make him come in. I do worry about the heat, because he's a flat faced breed he really struggles

OldMeg Sun 01-Jul-18 21:13:54

I saw that sad post on Facebook too and then today this....

Yesterday, after a day filled with fun, fetch and swimming in Lake Windermere, Myself, Lucy & Tiggy had to say goodbye to our best friend Max.

He collapsed and was rushed to the nearest vets where he was diagnosed immediately with Water Intoxication and put on drips of sodium, potassium and mannitol to increase his electrolytes and relieve pressure on his brain.
After 7 hours of determination from the vets and nurses, Max was unable to pull through.

“Water Intoxication is a relatively rare but frequently fatal condition in dogs. At highest risk are dogs that enjoy playing in the water for long stretches.”

We are so unbelievably devastated that a simple game of fetch in the water, something we had done a hundred times before, resulted in such a perfect day turning into our worst nightmare.

Water Intoxication was something we knew nothing about. At this time of year, so much awareness is spread about not leaving dogs in hot cars but no one ever mentions the hazardous effects of your dog ingesting too much water whilst playing.

We have had to learn the hard way and all we can do now is spread awareness of this terrible condition in the hope that other dog owners are informed.

Please share this post to spread awareness of Water Intoxication and save lives

We Love You Maxy xxx

I googled it and yes, it’s a genuine condition that I’d never heard of, even though we’ve had dogs all our lives. 😢😢😢

Nannykay Sun 01-Jul-18 22:11:05

It’s so sad to hear about these so loved animals, we are all guilty over looking what heat can do to out pets, even the fish in your fish tank can over heat in this weather. I have bottles of frozen water floating in my tank of tropical fish to bring the water temperature down,

As for our golden lab, she has just been for a gentle stroll round the block, a wash down with cool cloths, then she will sleep, as always, on the floor by my bed, with the ceiling fan on.

I’m lucky that I’m home all day, so she has access to the house and garden, she spent most of today crashed out in the shade on the patio, or stretched out in front of the fan in the living room.

But as I say, please don’t forget all the other pets, rabbits, cats, chickens, they all need extra care.

MawBroon Sun 01-Jul-18 22:17:03

Hattie gives me the odd hard look during the day but I refuse to walk her until,it has cooled down. If I am at home she has the run of the garden as well as indoors and will lie on the grass until she gets too hot, then come in and cool down then go out again.
Some (human) people’s stupidity is verging on criminal.

OldMeg Mon 02-Jul-18 08:12:26

Just back from walking my dogs at 7.30 this morning. Lovely cool breeze and kept to the wooded areas where possible. I’ve a small paddling pool in the garden that one of them loves to cool down in.

OldMeg Mon 02-Jul-18 08:18:26


Panache Mon 02-Jul-18 11:41:17

Reading....and rereading..... this story and the other sad ones recorded during this excessive heat, has truly broken my heart.
We have no dogs of our own nowadays sadly, but are great dog lovers and were hopefully considered pet owners through out our years.

However this main post has even opened our eyes, and it is so very heart breaking........... it needs to be copied in big red letters and perhaps pinned to every available area......especially where dog walking is prominent.
Anything and everything MUST be done to prevent such terrible............and needless.....suffering.

Thank you for this warning..........................if it saves lives then it has done its job.

millymouge Mon 02-Jul-18 11:58:48

Thank you for these messages, they are heartbreaking but need to be repeated and repeated. We have two greyhounds, one is black and feels the heat terribly. They have a gentle stroll about 6.30am in our shady walk and then perhaps about 10pm if they ask. No regular walks at the moment and they really don't mind just want to keep cool and sleep. Another thing to be aware of is that pavements and paths hold the heat for a long time and can be very painful for paws. DH spoke gently to a lady last week who was walking two husky type dogs about mid day. He said they had very thick coats and were panting hard and she said she didn't think they minded too much but agreed it might be better to wait until later and took,them home. Take great care of your special friends.

OldMeg Mon 02-Jul-18 12:36:41

Hattie look to be in lovely condition Maw with thar lovely shiny coat.

Fennel Mon 02-Jul-18 12:44:49

MawBroon - Hattie looks similar to a greyhound.
I'd forgotten to mention that when we were in France one of our sons was moving abroad and asked us to take on one of their rescue greyhounds. In 2003, the year of the canicule in France.
Which we did, but poor Twiglet suddenly dropped dead while running (as they love to do) during the hot summer.
Maybe the breed is more sensitive to hot weather.

Eloethan Mon 02-Jul-18 12:58:38

Our dog hates the heat even though he has a short coat.

Although this thread was very upsetting, I'm glad I read it because I wasn't aware of the dangers of walking a dog in the heat. My dog doesn't play catch games any more but he does seem to get exhausted if we walk in the sun. In this weather, I will cut the walks down.

I also didn't know about water intoxication, so thank you for that information.

Fennel Mon 02-Jul-18 13:03:55

Eloethan - I wonder if dogs with short coats are more vulnerable as they have less protection.
Longhaired dogs might trap cooler air in their fur.

Fennel Mon 02-Jul-18 13:27:45

Eloethan Mon 02-Jul-18 13:47:44

Fennel Thanks for the info. My granddaughter (who's 7) said that to me yesterday but I was sceptical. She's obviously got more sense than me!

NonnaW Mon 02-Jul-18 14:06:22

Our 2spaniels get walked in the morning between 7.00 and 8.00, then I wait until about 8.30 in the evening when it has cooled down a bit. They don’t understand this, and still look expectantly at the normal walk time. There are wood, laminate and tile floors for them to lie on, plus a cool mat I bought last year, but that gets mainly ignored! They go in and out the garden at will.