With the current and upcoming high temperatures in many parts of North America, and indeed the world, it's a good idea to focus on the things that can help your dog stay cool and safe.
Obviously if you’ve got air-conditioning in your home and your dogs are able to hunker down in there during any heat spells, that’s typically the best option. But not everyone has A/C and not every dog is able to spend their time indoors, so here are some ideas that may help dogs that need to spend time outside during the summer.
In case you missed it, some big news that benefits both animals and people recently came out of Florida…
In March, Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 131, making the “Sunshine State” just the second state where you now have legal protection to break into a locked vehicle to save a cat or dog (or other “domesticated pet” animal) that is in “imminent danger of suffering harm” due to their confinement in a hot vehicle. (Tennessee led the way in 2015, when their Governor, Bill Haslam, signed House Bill 537 into law.)Read More
I recently read a story about a puppy who was rescued by animal services from a hot car, fortunately before any serious injury occurred. While I was so happy to hear about the quick action of both the concerned person who called it in and that of the animal services officer who facilitated the rescue of the dog, I was more than a bit put off by the presence of a particular phrase in the article. This is the sentence the phrase is in, can you guess the concerning words?Read More
Quite a few people have emailed me in the last couple of days regarding a certain blog post that seems to be making the rounds again - it’s an article from 2007 warning about the supposed danger of giving ice water to dogs.
The author claims - quite emphatically - that drinking ice water caused her dog, “Baran”, to bloat.
First of all, if Baran even bloated, which, based upon the reported findings at surgery (“Baran’s stomach was in its normal anatomic position”), is seriously in doubt - it’s far more likely that it was caused by drinking a large volume of water in a short space of time following exercise than it was to the cold temperature of said water. But sadly, many of the important details are left out of the story.
The greater likelihood is that Baran was suffering from heat-related illness, probably heat exhaustion. It was this that caused him to drink so much water in such a short space of time, which can easily lead to nausea, which itself can show the reported signs of “dry heaving and drooling” and “was in some distress”. Yes, these are common signs of bloat in dogs - but it’s not the only condition they are associated with.
From here, the validity of the story unravels even further. While it is definitely correct to bring a dog exhibiting these signs directly to the vet, it is unlikely that the attending veterinary teams would have handled the situation the way the author describes.
One of the key statements that undermines the series of events as the author describes them is, again, the surgical findings… the “stomach was in its normal anatomic position”. Unless the stomach spontaneously derotated, which is possible, though highly unlikely, there was never any torsion (stomach twist) in the first place, and X-rays taken at the time of presentation at the first vet hospital and/or at the emergency clinic would have shown this. And if these X-rays showed gas accumulation, the “bloat” (dilatation) that the owner claims in the story, the attending veterinarian would have decompressed the stomach via stomach tube - not surgery.
Sadly, there are many holes in this story, this is just one (albeit a big one). And I’m not the only vet to debunk this story, you can read Dr. Patty Khuly’s response or Dr. Audry Harvey’s. These are just two other examples, there are many more. In fact, even Snopes.com, the wonderful “urban myth hole poker”, has a nice long article on this story.
But again, the goal is to educate, and the author’s heart is in the right place - spreading awareness of canine bloat (better called GDV, or Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus) is crucially important. So let’s capitalize on the popularity of this story and spread some real knowledge about GDV/Bloat, and let’s go a step further and spread some real knowledge about heat-related illness in dogs, too. After all, the erroneous advice and conclusion of the story doesn’t diminish the real dangers of GDV/Bloat and heat-related illness in pets. So please, read and share the information I’m presenting below - and especially do so if you made the mistake of previously sharing the erroneous story that prompted this post. If this factual information gets as many shares as the original story we’ll all have saved an awful lot of lives, and an awful lot of pet owner stress.
Learn more about GDV/Bloat.
Learn more about Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke.
Ironically, there is a very real danger related to givinRead More
Topics: Dog Safety, Dog Health, Torsion, GDV, Risks for GDV, Bloat, Treatment for GDV, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Dog, Dog's stomach, volvulus, Gastric Dilatation, Is ice water bad for dogs, Blog
Sadly there are still many erroneous myths and misconceptions out there surrounding the idea of leaving pets in parked cars. These contribute to dangerous practices that result in the heat stroke cases and deaths that my colleagues are seeing on a daily basis and that we’re all read about in the news and online all-too-frequently.
This article should debunk these misconceptions and put a stop to these dangerous practices. Use it to educate yourself and protect your pets, and share it to help educate others. The more people we can get to recognize the inherent dangers of these misconceptions and practices, the more injuries and deaths from heat stroke we can all help to prevent.Read More
When a dog’s body temperature rises over 104°F and his mechanisms for cooling himself – such as panting – become overwhelmed and stop working properly, heat stroke sets in.
Sadly it’s not just a dog’s thermoregulatory (“cooling”) system that fails in heat stroke. As the condition progresses and the body temperature rockets even further above 104°F, most body systems fail. Among them are the all-important neurologic, urinary, circulatory, and blood clotting systems. Once these systems begin to fail, the likelihood of recovery from heat stroke is very slim.
Along with the outside temperatures and humidity and the situations that people may put and leave their pets in – hot cars, exercise on hot days, etc. – there are several other pet-specific “predisposing” factors that can increase a pet’s risk for suffering from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
If your cat or dog has one (or several) of the characteristics or conditions listed below they may be at increased risk of suffering from heat-related illnesses. Please take extra precautions on warm and humid days and be sure to speak with and work with your pet’s veterinary team to best manage your pet’s risk of suffering heat stroke.Read More
Topics: Dogs, Safety, Cats, Heat Exhaustion, Summer, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Danger, Pets, Prevention, Brachycephalic, Addison’s Disease, Persian, Bulldogs, Scottish Fold, French Bulldogs, Pekingese, Boxers, Himalayan, Shih Tzu, British Shorthair
Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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