AMSTERDAM Alot of potential dangers comes along with heatwaves such as the one Amsterdam is experiencing this week. The most common victims are dogs according to Steffie Alsters, veterinarian at Caressa dierenziekenhuizen in Amsterdam.
– The most important thing to be aware of as a dog owner is that dogs can’t sweat like we can, which causes them to get overheated alot sooner than any human would, veterinarian Steffie Alsters says.
Alster explains that the reason why the dangers are higher for dogs than cats during heat is that they have to do what their owners tell them to do. Most of the time dogs cannot follow their instincts and prevent themselves from getting overheated. Cats however, do as they please, which is why cat owners don’t have to worry that much about their pet getting too hot.
– Sometimes dog owners are hurting their dog without knowing it. For example there has been extreme cases of dogs running themselves to death because the owners brought them along on a bike ride in the heat. The dog has no choice but to run along with the bike. The hot temperature combined with the running becomes too much for the dog to handle so he just falls down and then it’s over, Steffie Alsters says.
Dogs regulate their body heat through their tongue, and while doing so by panting, their body consumes more water than usual. So not only can they get a heat stroke – they can also get dehydrated from the panting.
– One of the worst things you could do is leave your dog in a car in the car when it’s hot outside. The temperature rises quickly in a car so it can get really dangerous. Luckily this doesn’t happen as often anymore since the awareness among dutch people today is very high. If someone leave their dog in a car here, chances are high someone will break the window to save the dog, Alsters says.
The easiest way to see if your dog is overheated is if they are panting rapidly, if they have a red tongue and can’t stand properly. Then you have to cool them down with water or wet towels and make sure the body heat lowers quickly. If not done quickly enough, the overheating can cause severe damage on the internal organs. According to Steffie Alters, the best way to prevent this from happening is to let the dog stay at home when it’s hot outside.
– Don’t expect too much from your dog when it’s hot out. Let them stay at home on the cool floor. They should never have to wait in the car if you are shopping and the beach is usually too hot for them. Let the walks be short. Too much walking can cause over heating and burned paws. If you want you can give your dogs the opportunity to cool themselves by putting some wet towels on the floor or having a small swimming pool in the garden.
Written by: Angelica Linde