Taking Care of Your Dog In The Heat

There are a lot of people that do not tolerate the heat of summertime well. Dogs are also very intolerant of too much heat. Their fur coats and inability to sweat anywhere but through their paws make them vulnerable to overheating and heat stroke. Dogs regulate their body temperature by panting. If they cannot clear heat quickly enough through their respiratory system, heatstroke occurs.

Signs of heatstroke[i]

It is important to be able to recognize when your dog is in distress. Please look at the following list and familiarize yourself with these common signs of overheating.

·      Panting

·      Dehydration

·      Excessive drooling

·      Increased body temperature (above 103°F)

·      Red gums

·      No urine or small amounts of urine

·      Rapid heart rate

·      Shock

·      Vomiting blood

·      Bloody stools or black, tarry stools

·      Changes in mental status

·      Seizures

·      Muscle tremors

·      Wobbly, incoordinated or drunken gait or movement

·      Unconsciousness

 

Causes and risk factors[ii]

There are many common factors that can contribute to overheating. Some are environmental and some are as simple as breed related. If you have concerns with any of the following, please see your vet.

·      Excessive environmental heat and humidity (cars, grooming drying cages, weather)

·      Restricted access to water

·      Upper airway disease

·      Underlying disease (heart and lung issues)

·      Excessive exercise

·      Age extremes (very young or very old)

·      Heat intolerance (heavy coated dog in a hot geographical location)

·      Obesity

·      Hyperthyroidism

·      Short nosed/ flat faced breeds

Treatment[iii]

If you are concerned that your pet may be overheating, there are a few things that you can do to decrease the risk of heat stroke.

·      Watch for signs of overheating, then move your pet to a cooler area immediately

·      Using a rectal thermometer, take your dogs temperature. Over 103°F, seek the nearest emergency clinic or veterinary hospital

·      Use cool, wet towels placed under armpits and between hind legs to drop body temperature

·      Give your dog fresh cool drinking water

·      Transport your overheated dog to the vet

 

Suggestions for a safe summer[iv]

Summer is a great time for fun and family. We want you and your pooch to have a safe and enjoyable summer. Here are some suggestions to make sure that you can enjoy your summer with your pet.

·      Access to outdoors should be restricted on particularly hot and sunny days. Try to keep your dog inside during the hottest part of the day

·      Limit time exercising and avoid hot pavement (see five second rule)

·      Protect pink areas on your dog with sunscreen

·      Ensure water is readily available (sprinklers and baby pools can provide entertainment as well)

·      Keep on top of grooming and get rid of excess fur

·      Avoid keeping your dog in confined spaces such as cars and greenhouses, they can be  potential ovens

·      Try freeze pops. There are dog friendly recipes that you can make yourself online. There are also some that you can buy at the store


[i] Heat Stroke and Hyperthermia in Dogs- PetMD

[ii] Heat Stroke and Hyperthermia in Dogs- PetMD

 

[iii] Brandy Arnold How to Treat (and possibly save!) An Overheated Dog

[iv] Hannah Dyball Helping your dog through the heatwave

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