Vet Hansel answers your questions about pet care in this weekly advice column, created in partnership with the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA). We will also be highlighting each week some of the animals in the BSPCA sanctuary, in the hope of finding each of them a loving home.
Question: My husband and I go to work in the mornings and we have two dogs and three cats. Is it fine to leave our pets in the compound or yard for just a couple of hours a day, while we are at work?
Answer: Many pet owners would like to leave their animals out during the day, but this is not at all a good idea. Bahrain's summer can reach harsh temperatures which are extremely harmful for your pets.
Dogs and cats cannot handle the heat as well as humans. One of the major problems noticed with animals left outside is heat stroke. Animals with heat stroke can suffer irreversible organ damage and eventually die.
However, heat stroke and dehydration are easily preventable. Provide your animals with plenty of cool, fresh water and make sure they have a cool, shady place to stay in during the day.
A good rule of thumb is: if you are uncomfortable in the heat, your animal will be, too. Also, never leave your animal in the car. Even on mild days, the car acts like a greenhouse, trapping the heat from the sun and acting as an oven. It can take only minutes for the internal temperature of the car to rise to unsafe levels and can ultimately kill your animal.
With the high temperatures in Bahrain during summer, the best option will be to leave your animals in an air conditioned or temperature controlled environment, whether at home or in the car, at all times. Kennels that are used to house these animals must also be air conditioned to prevent the onset of heat stroke.
Signs of heat stroke include collapse, loss of consciousness, vomiting, diarrhea, dark red or dry gums, heavy panting, thick saliva, animal appears dizzy or disoriented among others. Immediate action is required to save your dog's life!
The best way to cool a dog is to run water over him while he is on a cool metal or stone surface. If this is not possible, place cool, wet towels on them.
NEVER use ice or very cold water, as this constricts the blood vessels at the surface, making it harder for your dog to lower his body temperature. Offer your dog water but do not force it to drink.
Remember heat stroke is an emergency and
you MUST get your dog
to the veterinarian
as quickly as possible.
¥ Dr Hansel Geo is a veterinary consult and surgeon for the BSPCA. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BSPCA Shelter dogs are taken into air conditioned buildings between 11.30am and 3.30pm daily. If you would like to see the dogs, please come before 11.30am and after 3.30pm during normal working hours.