The summer months can be brutal to your dog. Remember, if you are hot, chances are your dog is even hotter. And, dogs are much more susceptible to heatstroke than humans.
One reason for this is your dog wears his fur coat all year round. And while dogs do have sweat glands on their feet, they do not have them on the rest of their body. They rely on panting, a method of breathing out excess heat, to cool down their bodies. This method is not as effective as sweating.
Some breeds are much more susceptible to the heat than others…
- Dogs with thick double-coats have a harder time beating the heat.
- Dogs with pushed-in faces, such as Bulldogs, Pugs and Boxers, have smaller airways, and therefore have less of an ability to blow out hot air.
The major cause of heatstroke in dogs is leaving a dog in a parked car…
Even with the windows cracked on a 70° to 80° day, while it may feel comfortable outside, the inside of your car can heat up to over 100° in minutes!
Exercising in hot weather is another common way heatstroke can occur. As with humans, older dogs, overweight dogs and/or dogs with heart or lung ailments are much more likely to suffer from heatstroke than younger dogs that are more in shape.
Do not push your dog to exercise on very hot or humid days!
Some of the symptoms of heatstroke in Dogs are:
- Rapid heavy panting
- Pinpoint, deep-red hemorrhages on gums/ skin – this is called Petechiae
- Bright red mucous membranes on the gums and conjunctiva of the eyes
- Gasping for air
- Salivation early then dry gums as heat prostration sets in
- You can see it in their eyes – Staring, Glassy eyed
- Warm, dry skin
- Rapid heartbeat
In some extreme cases seizures, diarrhea and vomiting can occur.
If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, cool him down as quickly as you can and call your vet immediately. Do not use ice water, as a dramatic change in temperature can be dangerous.
Quick and effective ways to cool your dog down include:
- Put your dog in a bathtub, sink or kiddie pool filled with cool water
- A very good way to cool down a dog is to put water on its chest
- Also a lot of heat exits the dog’s body through his feet, so having the dog stand in cool water will also help
- Another way is to put cool wet towels around your dog’s body while he is standing in something cool. It is important to cool off the chest and feet. Be sure to refresh the towels in cool water every few minutes, as the towels will quickly reach the same temperature as your dog’s body
- Spraying your dog with the hose, dumping buckets of water on your dog, or placing your dog directly in front of an air conditioner are a few more ways you can cool down your dog’s body temperature
- Offer your dog a drink
Here are a few simple suggestions to help avoid heatstroke…
- Again, do NOT leave your dog in a parked car on hot or sunny days
- Provide plenty of fresh cool drinking water at all times. Do not leave your dog’s water bowl in the sun, or it will heat up. Imagine drinking a cup of hot tea in the summer sun
- Always provide a shady spot so they can get out of the beating heat of the sun
- Don’t let your dog linger on asphalt
Enjoy your summer and remember to keep your dog cool!