No-one in their right mind would leave a dog in a car in this horrendous heat, yet people still do so and the RSPCA can be called to vehicles to retrieve animals in distress.
I remember fatalities at a car boot sale in Hampshire in the 1990s, one woman driving off with her two dead collies in the back. I approached one woman at the same site a few weeks later who intended to leave her dog in the car in sweltering heat, and her response to my concerns was unprintable.
When out walking Maggie down to the marina at 9pm last night for her final wee, she chased a cat and stopped when I yelled NO! after two bounces. She then coughed twice, staggered sideways and collapsed.
I thought she’d had a stroke or a heart attack, but as she was conscious if a little confused when I got to her, I discounted that, but knew I had to get her home quickly.
Bugger that final wee.
As I carried her, I talked to her all the way and she didn’t struggle.
I shouted for Hubby through the window as I couldn’t open the front door, and when he opened it, he took her from me. We got her into the kitchen and tried to get her to drink, but she didn’t want any. In fact she hadn’t drunk or eaten very much all day.
Looking up Heatstroke in Dogs on the internet, she had none of the listed symptoms, so Hubby cupped his hand, filled it with water and thrust it under her nose. He kept doing this as she was smacking her lips and licking him, so at least he was getting some fluid into her.
If there had been any outward sign that she was suffering from heatstroke, we would have called the vet immediately, but she wasn’t panting, her gums and tongue were normal in colour, and her eyes were bright.
We then looked up Overheating in Dogs, and this is what we think had happened.
Combined with the extreme heat yesterday (it’s even hotter today), her lack of food or fluid intake and a quick exertion, her body couldn’t cope and so she keeled over.
The website suggested that to assist in cooling her down gently, her armpits, groin and underbelly were sprayed with cool water. This seemed to do the trick, and within half an hour she’d perked up a little and was on her feet.
Hubby continued with his fist of water and we made her some weak slightly sweetened tea which she did polish off.
By 11pm, she was ready to walk unassisted out for the aborted wee and then bedtime.
This morning, she is much better and during the day has drunk 2 ‘cups’ of tea and some water, plus eaten some of her dinner and a couple of dog biscuits.
We took her to the vet this morning, explained what happened last night and what we’d done to help her, and she was given a thorough going over.
She’s lost a little weight, but is still within the acceptable range for her breed, and her tongue and gums are healthy. Her heart is strong, the beat constant in her groin, under her front legs and chest, and there is no trace of a murmur.
The vet agreed that it was probably overheating, but if it happened again, we were to take her back.
She is an older dog (now 12) and her arthritis is bound to get the better of her these days. The metacam we give her (a half dose) is sufficient to give her relief when she needs it, but it is not a daily dose, and should it become necessary to give her painkilling medication more frequently, there are alternatives.
Walks today and the next couple of days will be short and at cooler parts of the day.
The temperature in the conservatory is almost 100º F (37.5º C), so we have shut the kitchen door to keep the heat out of the house, and Maggie has settled under the table on her cushion where it is relatively cool. The downstairs loo door is open, and it’s nice and cool in there as there are no windows should she want to go in.
At least she’s eating and drinking today, her breathing is regular and she’s more steady on her feet.
Hubby, MSM and I are all uncomfortable in this heat, which was due to break today and hasn’t. It just goes to show that the heat can affect our pets in the home as well as outside or in a car, and we need to be extra aware.
Pictures taken on the boat: left May 2015 and right May 2016