Overheating can kill: Whitsunday vet’s pet care tips
Overheating in summer is one of the most common dangers – sometimes fatal – for pets. Experts advise owners to take special care of their animals during the festive season and into the New Year.
RSPCA Queensland also gave its top recommendations for responsible pet care during the holiday season.
Whitsunday vet veterinary practice Julie Ruddell, who has worked in the area for 36 years, said she wouldn’t recommend people give away puppies or kittens for Christmas.
“They hope you will have your pets for a long time to come. You have to think 15 years later, and that shouldn’t be a spontaneous decision.
“You have to put time into this pet, and if you don’t have that time, don’t even go there,” said Ms. Ruddell.
She said new pet owners need to be sure they have the resources to feed and keep an animal.
Ms. Ruddell has treated two animals for overheating this season, both of which have survived, but sometimes, she said, the pets could not be saved.
“Dogs only have sweat glands between their paws, not on their skin, so they can overheat very easily,” she said.
She said that dogs who could only vaporize water through their tongues were very prone to overheating.
She recommended not taking pets to exercise on the hottest days of the day to ensure they had plenty of water and cool treats, a clam pool to cool off, and shade areas.
“Overheating is very, very serious – it can die,” she said.
Ms. Ruddell said while some animals are overheated in a car, they could overheat while exercising outdoors.
“Especially when they’re excited or running, where there’s not a lot of wind blowing through scrubs or sugar cane, or even on the beach in the heat of the day.
“They can’t get rid of the heat as easily as we do and they’ll stagger, wiggle, gasp excessively, and they’ll die.
“It affects every cell in the body and they get heat stroke.”
The first sign of a dog overheating this way was that it was going to get very shaky. Then they should be cooled as soon as possible.
“Stop them and pour cold water on them. You need to lower that temperature and take her to a vet, ”she said.
Other pieces of advice for the holiday season, she said, were making sure your pets were safe when you went away.
“Plan ahead for someone to look after your pet or book it into good kennels, and you need to plan ahead too as it is very busy.”
She said dogs should not be given cooked bones, including ham bones, and fatty meals that could upset their stomachs and cause constipation.
“Raw bones are wonderful for dogs. They are nature’s toothbrush. “
Ms. Ruddell said if people were considering introducing a pet into their home, they could speak to a veterinarian in their area about what was needed.
“Go talk to a local vet. That’s what we’re trained for and the vets here are very approachable, ”she said.
The RSPCA encourages “responsible” people who genuinely want a pet to adopt one of the hundreds of homeless animals that end up in shelters due to indiscriminate breeding and irresponsible owners.
RSPCA Queensland Community Relations spokesman Michael Beatty said the RSPCA’s adoptive dogs and cats have been desexual, microchipped, health assessed, vaccinated, dewormed, heartworm tested (dogs), and temperament assessed.
Mr Beatty said over the holidays and during the New Year it was important for pet owners to be aware of the potential dangers to new pets, including the fact that they are not allowed to play with tinsel.
“It can damage your gut. It’s not uncommon for veterinarians to see tinsel, string, thread, or even floss on a cat’s X-ray. “
The RSPCA also warned that chewing on strings of lights could result in electric shock and poinsettia plants could cause mouth irritation to the mouth and stomach with signs such as drooling, vomiting, or nausea.
Pets should also not be fed rich and fatty foods like pork and ham, which can cause painful pancreatitis, and chocolate (caffeine) and macadamia nuts can be toxic to animals.
Onions can cause red blood cells to burst, which leads to anemia. Animals should not be given Panadol for pain relief. The active ingredient paracetamol can also be toxic to animals, especially cats.