With heat warnings issued over Weyburn and the surrounding area, it’s important to remember to watch out for pet safety in the hot conditions. 

Veterinarian for Prairie Animal Health Centre, Dr. Greg Douglas, emphasizes ensuring all animals have ample shade and access to water.  

Douglas also mentions monitoring activity levels as an important part of animal safety.  

“We can't expect pets to make the right decisions in terms of their activity level, so we have to do that for them. It's really important that walks are a little bit shorter, and they're well hydrated before the walk, and they have access to water after their walk.” 

“Animals take a long time, just like humans, to acclimate to heat, such that they may think that they can run significantly in heat, but after they do, their hearts can be affected, they can get dehydrated, have electrolyte imbalances, all of those things. So it's really important to monitor them and make sure they take it slow in heat and they have access to lots of water.” 

Dr. Douglas says one of the most dangerous places for an animal to be when it's hot outside is a vehicle. 

“When we move them in cars and the like, we have to be very, very careful. It's a better idea for the animals to not travel or be in vehicles during summer months, because all kinds of things can happen. That said, sometimes it's imperative. So it's really important that they be monitored constantly if they're in a vehicle, such that it doesn't become warm and they're never left unattended in a vehicle.” 

Pets should be monitored for any concerning symptoms, if animals seem overheated, the first step is to cool them off as quickly as possible. This can be done through bringing them into a basement or air-conditioned room, using a fan, and providing cool water to drink. Submerging an animal in water, however, is not the best approach, especially for older animals. 

The symptoms most related to heat stress are excessive panting and dark red and tacky lining of the nose or mouth. If any of this happens, or you have any concerns for the health of your pet, Dr. Douglas recommends calling your veterinarian. 

“If they come in from being outside and you think, oh, they're really warm and they're panting excessively such that they seem distressed. Now, if they relax and they get comfortable over the course of, say, 20 minutes to a half an hour, then it doesn't probably require a call to the veterinarian. But if they still seem distressed or excessively panting, it might require intervention with fluids. Because heat stress, heat stroke, and sun stroke can all be serious in animals, such that it really impacts their heart and their cardiovascular system generally.” 

Dr. Douglas mentions that active animals with lots of energy are more susceptible to heat-related illness, alongside overweight or obese animals, and working animals. Still, regardless of the size, breed, or species of your pet, all animals need proper care during the heat.