Pet Owners on Notice

As the region swelters through some of the hottest weather on record, and in the wake of the death this week of a working Police dog from heat stress, the RSPCA and Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) are warning owners that current summer heat is taking a toll on dog.

At most risk are some breeds with specialist features.

AVA spokesperson Dr David Neck says however all animals feel it.

pug-dog“Heat stress and heatstroke is particularly common in brachycephalic breeds, such as English and French bulldogs as well as Pugs. These types of dogs have been bred to have exaggerated features, including a very short muzzle.”

“Unfortunately, this feature leads to – among other things – breathing difficulties, which only worsen in hotter temperatures.

“We’ve seen the popularity of these breeds rise significantly over the years and in many cases, owners are forced to invest in medical management and/or surgery to address the discomfort their dog experiences with breathing.

“The last thing we want to see is dogs suffering unnecessarily simply because they have been bred to look a certain way.”

While these extreme features make some breeds more prone to heat stress and heat stroke than others, any dog can suffer heat stroke in high temperatures.

Signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, fatigue, drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea and even seizures.

Dr Neck advises pet owners to keep an eye on their dogs, especially dogs with exaggerated features, during these very hot days.