Heat Stress

As very active busy little dogs wearing short black coats, which offer very little protection from, and indeed attract the sun, the ETTs are more at risk of heat stress than other more sedate, and lighter coloured dogs.

All owners should be aware of the symptoms of heat stress and the emergency action until a Vet can be contacted.

Early identification of the condition can reverse the heating process, but always remember this is a killer, often the damage done to the internal organs is so great that even with Vetinary care the dog will ultimately die.

Prevention and awareness is much better than an attempted cure.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Dog is hot to the touch
  • Rapid breathing, deep panting, can cause difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Character changes, some dogs may become aggressive, if it is necessary to muzzle the dog (for safety) use a basket/racing greyhound type so as not to restrict the dogs breathing, which is already compromised.
  • Muscles twitching
  • Uncordination, dog stumbles, glazed expression
  • Lips and gums dark red
  • Higher temperature than usual, especially over 105 degrees
  • Dog collapses
  • Coma

First they will become more active, panting, whining and possibly barking.

The dog is obviously agitated.

The panting becomes laboured and excessive, drooling saliva

Next the dog struggles to breath, it has red gums and appears dazed, movement is uncoordinated.

If not treated, cell death in the brain will result in seizures, coma then ultimately the dog will die.

What to do?

Take the dog away from the hot area into the shade

Get the dog wet any way you can:

  • Wrap in a towel soaked in cool water
  • Run cold water over the back of the dogs head
  • Ice packs – or frozen packs of veg! – wrapped in towels or similar can be placed between the hind legs, on the stomach and behind elbows, as well as on head and neck.

When the dog appears to have began to recover offer a SMALL amount of water, little and often.

Do not allow the dog to drink a lot of water in one go.

If the dog has collapsed, take to the NEAREST VET. It is vital to continue with the wet towel therapy on the journey.

If the dog appears to of recovered, bear in mind that the symptoms can quickly return, so a visit to the vet is advisable.

Having suffered from heat stress once, the dog will be more prone to suffer episodes in the future.


Be aware of the symptoms above

Provide lots of fresh water at home and when out, take water with you on long walks, stop and let your dog rest in the shade.

If dogs are left, ensure water bowls/buckets are full and are secured so they cannot be tipped over, leaving the dog without water.

Limit the time in the sun, provide plenty of shade, especially indoors, never shut your dog in an un shaded conservatory- this becomes an oven!

Use a fan to keep the air circulating indoors

Feed less in hot weather, as over eating leads to over heating, try to feed at the cooler times of day.

Do not exercise during the hottest part of the day, early morning or late evening are better for both you and your dogs.

If you must go jogging or running – leave your dog at home in hot weather.

Provide a paddling pool for your dogs in the garden

DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A PARKED VEHICLE!! There is no excuse worth your dog’s life! Even on a warm day, the temperature inside a stationary vehicle – car, van, truck, caravan – will rise rapidly, even if parked in the shade with the windows open a few inches.

Sit in your car on a hot day and see how long before you are uncomfortable in the heat, time how long you are able to stay in there with the doors and windows shut.

Remember you can open the door and escape – your dog cant!

On a long journey ensure there is plenty of airflow around the dog, make sure it has adequate room to move and lie out flat, if travelling in a crate ensure it is not in direct sunlight, or covered up so the airflow is restricted.

Stop and check dog frequently offering water and opportunity to relieve itself.

Carry plenty of water in the car; water bottles can be frozen the night before a journey so they stay cool longer.

Towels soaked in water frozen the night before can be very useful.

Have a battery operated fan in the car in the event of breakdown and of course a space blanket.

Paws can burn on hot sand at the beach; tarmac often melts in the sun so road walks can also cause the pads to burn, check and wash feet on return.

Water, sand and rocks at the beach will reflect the sun, as our dogs have very short hair, which is also black- so attracts even more heat, they can be susceptible to burning, keep them in the shade as much as possible and lookout for sunburn, apply sun block as necessary.

Please make sure your dogs enjoy the summer too!!

The recommendations made in this article do not replace the advice of your veterinary professional. Always exercise your own judgement about whether something is right for your dog and consult your vet if you are unsure. Englishtoyterrier.co.uk accepts no liability for any situation that may occur as a result of following these recommendations.

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