Paws for thought | Help your pets chill out to beat the heat

DEADLY: As the hot weather approaches make sure you pets are kept cool with plenty of water, early-moring exercise and under no circumstances leave them in hots cars or cages.

DEADLY: As the hot weather approaches make sure you pets are kept cool with plenty of water, early-moring exercise and under no circumstances leave them in hots cars or cages.

WITH the hot weather coming in hard and fast again this week, overheating in pets is a big concern for owners and vets.

Heat stroke is caused by an inability for the body to dissipate heat and is often seen in pets as a result from being left in a hot car. 

Young, old and pets with health conditions are usually hardest hit and heat stroke can be fatal within minutes. 

Overweight dogs who have difficulty breathing or a heart murmur are at a greater risk. 

Dogs don’t have sweat glands (with the exception of on their paws) and instead cool themselves via panting.

As their body temperature rises, they start to pant to dissipate heat.

Blood is channelled to the extremities such as the membranes in the mouth which will appear red (rather than pink).

Dehydration and low blood pressure develop quickly, leading to compromised oxygen delivery to the body.

As the body temperature continues to rise, the blood begins to clot and inflammatory factors cause a cascade with damage to and failure in multiple body organs including the kidneys, lungs, muscle, gut, nerves, and blood all occurring in minutes.

It is incredibly stressful, painful and life-threatening for our companion animals, so to decrease the risk of heat stroke, exercise in the early morning or evening and avoid strenuous exercise if humid.

Always have fresh water available and never leave your pet in a car or a cage in the sun.

If you think your pet has heat stroke, seek veterinary attention immediately. 

Avoid using ice for cooling and do not put your pet in a cool room or freezer as rapid cooling can lead to more complications.

Wet towels and a fan are best while transporting your pet to the vet.

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HAVING a few backyard chickens is a great idea; not only do you get to have fresh eggs each day but you get the joy of watching your chickens fuss around your yard.

Chickens live for about eight to 10 years with roosters larger and more brightly coloured than hens. They also have a comb on top of their head and two wattles on either side of their neck. 

The colour and the way the comb sits is often a good indication if your chicken is unwell - if it is pale or hanging down she may be unwell and needs a check with your vet.

Chickens are very social animals so it is best to have two or more at a time for them to be happy. It is important to check with your council on the number of chickens they allow you to have as this varies in different areas.