As temperatures shoot up across the Arabian Gulf, pet owners are being warned that extreme weather poses a serious risk to animals.
Temperatures exceeded 51 degrees in the UAE at the end of last month, according to the country’s National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology, while the heat index, which takes humidity into account to express what that heat ‘feels like’, hit a scorching 66 degrees.
"Unlike us, dogs and cats don’t release heat by sweating, leaving them particularly susceptible to heatstroke, which can make them seriously ill within minutes," said Dr. Lila Miller, Veterinary Advisor at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ASPCA.
"Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heatstroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat. Heatstroke can be fatal if not treated promptly."
Emma-Leigh Pearson, DVM, a veterinarian with animal hospital network MedVet, said, "As the weather gets warmer and our dogs have yet to acclimatise to the change in temperature, more cases of canine heatstroke are seen.
"The primary goal in the treatment of heatstroke is to actively facilitate cooling. Methods of cooling in the heatstroke patient focus on evaporative and conductive mechanisms of heat dissipation."
Portable evaporative coolers are an easy way to keep animals cool even at the height of summer. They are cheaper to run than air conditioning and get to work far more quickly, important when the weather is simply unbearable.
Some of the tips experts give for keeping your pet cool include walking dogs early in the morning or after sunset, keeping pets indoors between noon and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest, ensuring that animals can have access to a shaded area at all times, and providing plenty of chilled drinking water, replacing it regularly.