Erinne Branter, a practicing veterinarian and one of the owners of WAVES hospital, said hot weather poses a major risk to dogs. (Photo courtesy of Erinne Branter)

Avoid giving dogs ice cubes, says Greater Victoria vet

Tips for keeping dogs cool and safe this summer

Keeping your dog cool when the temperature climbs is key to your canine companion’s health.

“Without a doubt, heatstroke can be fatal,” said Dr. Erinne Branter, a practicing veterinarian and one of the owners of WAVES (West Coast Animal Veterinarian Emergency Specialty) hospital in Langford.

“It’s incredibly important to guard against it. Once it sets in, it can be irreversible.”

Some of the measures Branter stressed to prevent issues during hot weather is to avoid taking dogs for walks on days when the temperature rises above 25 C. Anything above that can be a problem, depending on wind, shade and other factors.

“If you’re hot, your pets are hot, and they don’t have the cooling capacity humans have. We have a climate that’s conducive to walking most of the time, so avoiding walks for a few days when it’s hot is not an issue.”

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Cool early morning and evenings are the best time to take dogs for a walk.

The optimum solution is to keep dogs in a cool environment so they don’t get too hot. Cooler, room temperature water is ideal. Applying water gently on their muzzle and paws is a good way to help cool them down. And, they shouldn’t be fed until they have cooled off, Branter said.

“If you notice they can’t cool or seem lethargic after a walk, you should see a vet,” she stressed.

It’s also important to avoid giving dogs ice cubes, Branter said. “It’s similar to giving them to a young child. They could chip a tooth or choke.”

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


 

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