Published Jun 07, 2017 10:21am

How to protect your pet from heatstroke this summer

As temperatures rise and the heat becomes intolerable, we aren't the only ones at risk of dehydration and heatstroke.

Animals -- whether they're pets or strays -- are extremely vulnerable to hot weather if they're not looked after properly. Animal welfare groups like the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation in Karachi have reported numerous cases of animals suffering from dehydration.

So how can you help? The folks at Paws Pakistan helped Images compile a handy guide.

How can you tell if an animal is dehydrated or suffering from heatstroke?

Keep a close eye on your pets in hot weather. One sign of dehydration and heatstroke is heavy sustained panting (panting is how they keep themselves cool and that becomes a problem if the body temperature has gone above a certain degree that they can control through natural mechanisms).

Your dog may also start breathing heavily, with difficulty, frothing at the mouth too.

If a pet is dehydrated or suffering from the heat you'll see a general weakness in walking or standing, loss of direction and orientation. Like a human gets dizzy in over heated conditions, animals too become lethargic, listless and disoriented.

How can you treat heatstroke in animals?

Give the animal cool water to drink -- not ice cold.

If your dog doesn't want to drink water, don't force it, try chicken or beef broth, cooled.

Spray water on the animal's body and keep it uncovered in a breezy, windy space. You may need to set up a fan. As the water evaporates from its fur the body temperature will cool down. Do not ever cover its body with a wet towel.

Keep the animal moving around.

What precautions can you take to prevent heatstroke?

You can feed your dog yoghurt ice cubes (7 cubes if the animal is a medium to large breed).

House your pets in a shaded area. Make sure they have a cool surface to lie on.

If your pet is not an indoor pet, make sure you set up a fan for it outside. If your pet lives indoors and/or has thick fur you may keep it in an air conditioned room.

Make sure the animal has access to a bowl of cool drinking water at all times.

On extremely hot days, mix a little ORS into your dog's water bowl.

Note: If you feel your animal is too ill for basic intervention or beyond your help, please call a veterinarian.

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