Why being a hot dog can be dangerous and even deadly.
AS temperatures soar to record levels this week, the kennels at Donaldson's Vets clinics have been filling up with heat-stressed dogs.
We have had a number of dogs presented over the last few days in varying degrees of distress with heat exhaustion.
While we manage to lose body heat by reducing our clothing and producing sweat which then evaporates cooling the skins surface, our canine friends remain in the fur coats and have very little ability to sweat.
Dogs main mechanism for cooling their body is to pant. Blood vessels in the mouth, throat and tongue have a strong blood supply and so, by breathing rapidly, they are able to shuttle large volumes of air over those membranes to aid cooling.
In recent years, "brachycephalic breeds" with short muzzles and narrow pallets such as French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs and Pugs have become more and more popular.
With their narrow airways, some of these dogs struggle to be able to breathe sufficiently in cool weather.
In hot weather, it becomes impossible for them to cool their bodies sufficiently and their core body temperature can rise dangerously high.
While it is not only the brachycephalic breeds who are at risk, the majority of the emergency admissions to the hospital this week have been Brachycephalic dogs.
VETS Signs of heat stress, or hyperthermia (the opposite of hypothermia) include heavy panting, dribbling, vomiting or diarrhoea, weakness and drowsy behavior or even fitting and collapse.
Hyperthermia is a genuinely lifethreatening condition and needs careful, urgent attention. It is essential that the temperature is lowered rapidly but in a controlled manner - too rapid can be just as dangerous as too slow!!
At any time of the year (not just on hot days) dogs should never be left in cars - even when parked in the shade or with the windows open.
Try to avoid exercise and excitement during the middle of the day when temperatures are at their hottest.
Always make sure that your dog has access to shade and fresh drinking water - but try to make sure that they don't drink too much all at once.
If your dog starts to show signs of heat stress, contact a vet with a local emergency service.
For first aid, draping a wet bath towel over your dog will help with cooling especially if you can use a fan.
Although most of us don't have airconditioned homes, many have airconditioning in their car, so putting your dog in an air-conditioned car is helpful.
Take your dog out for exercise in the early morning when its cool