JRT's are just as susceptible, if not more, to heat related ailments than most canines. Their hyper personalities, and constant need to run, jump, and play puts them at risk for heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat stress...the most common summer ailments for JRT's.
Lets take a look at these ailments, and ways to prevent your JRT from becoming their next victim.
Because JRT's do not perspire in the same manner as we humans, they can not move the heat off their body as fast, or as efficiently as we do. Their method of perspiring is through panting, and minimally through the pads of their feet. This less efficient manner can lead to heat related complications in a very short time.
If your JRT is spending time out in the heat, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first and foremost are the signs and symptoms of the heat affecting them.
For heat stress, the most common signs are:
An anxious expression
Staring without seeing
Failing to respond to commands
Skin that is warm and dry
Fatigue or exhaustion
For heat stroke, the most common signs are:
Warm nose and foot pads
Bright Red Tongue and Gums
If you suspect your JRT may be suffering from heat stress or heat stroke, the first thing to do is wipe them down with cool water. Rush them to your vet, as heat stroke left unattended can do long lasting damage to vital organs, and can even lead to death.
Brain damage occurs when the JRT's body temperature reaches 106 degrees or above. A JRT's normal temperature runs between 100.5 degrees to 101.5 degrees.
Make sure to keep an very close eye on your senior JRT's, as they are more likely to succumb to the affects of heat...more so than their juniors.
Although heat related ailments such as stroke, exhaustion, and stress are very possible, there are a multitude of methods to help your JRT beat the heat, and be able to enjoy the summertime with you.
Before heading out for your outdoor time, why not give your JRT a good brushing. JRT's have multiple layers of fur, and as any owner of a JRT knows, they are constantly shedding one layer or another. By brushing your JRT on a daily basis, you are helping them rid themselves of that excess fur that may be holding heat in close to your JRT's body. Air will be able to circulate better through your companions fur, allowing a means to keep the core temperature of your JRT at a more comfortable and safe level.
If you take a daily walk, why not schedule it during the early morning or later evening hours. These are the times when the temperatures are not quite so high, and both you and your JRT will be more comfortable and able to enjoy your time outside.
Steer your JRT clear of walking on concrete or asphalt as much as possible. Because both hold heat, they may burn, or do damage to the delicate pads of your JRT's feet. And again, one of the means of them releasing heat is through these very pads, and if the surface they are walking on it too hot, this source of perspiring is affected.
Make sure you JRT always has fresh, cool, clean water. Although they do not perspire as we do, constantly panting can cause them to dehydrate quickly. There are several ways of making sure your JRT has the cool water they need. You can freeze water, or use ice, and add it to their water bowl periodically, so that when it melts they will have the cool water they will need. Or, you may carry a container of chilled water with you, and make sure to refill your JRT's water bowl often. Always make sure they have all the fresh, clean water they want on hot summer days.
When playing outside, the best areas to let your JRT enjoy the day are near trees or water. Making sure there is plenty of shade available to both play under, or just lay down and rest is ideal. Also, if you live near a beach or a lake, allowing your JRT to take an occasional dip in the water is a great way to relieve them of any heat stress they may encounter. Maybe get them a wading pool to put in the back yard. Not only will it be a source of exercise and fun, but it will help to keep them cool as well.
Another method for keeping your JRT cool while on a walk or at play, is to take a bandana, wet it with cool water, roll it up, and tie it around your JRT's neck. The cool temperature at the base of their neck will help to keep their brain and nervous system a more pleasant temperature, thus helping to head off any heat related problems. Plus, with the bandana around their neck, they will look so darned cute.
If your JRT has one of those currently popular and so trendy doggie shirts, wetting it with cool water and placing it on your JRT will help to keep their core temperature down. As with the bandana, make sure you keep wetting the shirt down with cool water, and don't let it dry out.
DO NOT leave your JRT in a parked car. Many people do not realize just how quickly a parked cars interior temperature can rise. Even with the windows cracked on an 80 degree day, the air temperature inside the car can rise to 102 degrees in only 10 minutes. The air does not circulate through a car, like it does a more open area, and it takes no time at all for the temperature to get to a dangerous level. So, err on the side of caution, and do not leave your JRT in the car.
Just because the temperatures are on the rise, does not mean that you and your JRT can't enjoy the outdoors together. As long as you take precautions, and keep a keen eye on your companion, you both will be able to enjoy the beautiful weather together.