We asked Nicholas Gilman, executive director at the Montreal SPCA, to give us some tips on how to keep dogs cool in a heat wave and how to tell if it's time to take it to the vet.
- Do not take your dog with you for a drive, especially if you plan on leaving it in your parked car: leaving the windows open will not ensure the animal is okay.
- Avoid dark pavement and sidewalks for extended periods of time when taking your dog for a walk. Grassy areas are always preferable for a dog's paws, which can be badly burned long before you notice your pet licking its paws.
- Keep your dog hydrated, and make sure it always has access to water. Panting dogs become dehydrated very quickly.
- In cases of extreme heat, you can put your dog into the tub, pour cool water on its body or use ice packs to provoke a drop in body temperature.
- Panting: this indicates heat-related issues, not a critical condition. You should watch your dog to make sure the situation doesn't get worse.
- Deep panting and an incapacity to stand up or walk. At this point, your dog will want to just sag onto the ground, or find a cool spot to lie down and pant.
- Your dog is no longer responsive. It will pass out periodically, and feel cold and clammy.
- Your dog's temperature is above 38.8C (measure it with a baby thermometer).