Protect Your Pet from the Heat
Hot, humid summer days bring the possibility of heat stroke. As your dog starts to overheat his body temperature rises, a body temperature above 104 degrees F can make heat stroke becomes a possibility; any temperature above 106 degrees is extremely dangerous. Outdoor dogs need more than shade, especially in humid conditions in order for them to inhale air cooler than their normal body temperature of 102 degrees. Dogs confined to kennels that aren’t air-conditioned are also at risk. Dogs cannot perspire the way humans do. Because they do not sweat they are susceptible to heat stroke. Since dogs do not sweat they pant to exchange warm air for cool air. When the air temperature is close to their body temperature panting doesn’t help them cool down. What can you do? Keep on reading so you know how to prevent and treat heatstroke.
How to Prevent Heatstroke
It is important for dogs to have a cool place to lay down such as a cool bed
Provide plenty of cool, clean water and make sure it’s always within reach
Provide a well ventilated area in the shade
Limit exercise during the hottest times of the day
Keep older, obese and other pets with health issues out of the summer heat
Make sure cement and asphalt dog runs have a shaded area
Trim heavy-coated dogs, but don’t clip completely to the skin – they need protection from sunburn as well as insects
A child’s small swimming pool or baby bathtub with clean water is an excellent way for dog’s to cool themselves
Restrict outdoor exposure when there is excessive humidity
If you don’t have air-conditioning for the kennel, make sure there is plenty of cross ventilation and run fans
Never leave a dog in a parked car. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise over 120 degrees very quickly
Signs of Heatstroke
Heat stroke begins with heavy, excessive panting and difficulty breathing
Rapid heart rate
Tongue appears bright red
Saliva is thick
Gums appear pale and dry
Advanced heat stroke can lead to unconsciousness, seizures and death
Pets left for even a few minutes in a car during hot weather are at risk of heat stroke – it only takes a few minutes for the car temperature to increase rapidly. If you must leave the dog in the car open the windows for cross ventilation if there is a breeze or leave car running, with the air conditioner on. Be sure to use a well-ventilated dog carrier and bring plenty of water for the dog to drink. Check on them to make sure they aren’t over heating.
How to Treat Heatstroke
Don’t panic. Your first action step is to cool the dog down. You can do this by removing them from the hot area immediately. If you can get them into an air-conditioned building that would be best, but otherwise get them into the coolest area you can. Next, you need to wet the dog thoroughly – either by placing them in tub of cool water or use a hose making sure you’re reaching the skin and not just the topcoat. Make sure the water isn’t ice cold (for the very small breeds use lukewarm water). Running a fan can be helpful in cooling them down, but be careful not to get the dog too cold too quickly or else you can cause hypothermia. Check the dog’s temperature rectally every 5-10 minutes so you know when to stop the cool water treatment. When their temperature gets to 103-104 degrees F dry the dog off and take them to the veterinarian. Please do not skip taking them to the vet…there may be other complications that aren’t apparent to you. If you aren’t able to get to any water, put the dog in your car, turn the air-conditioner on full blast and go immediately to the veterinarian clinic.
Follow the above recommendations during the hot summer months to help you and your dogs have a safe, happy summer! If you have any questions give one of our Pet Care Consultants a call…they’ll be happy to help you.
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.
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