During the scorching days of summer it’s important for us pet parents to be extra careful when it comes to our dogs and the outdoors. Normally in the summer time we like to do all kinds of outdoorsy things and bring our dogs along with us but sometimes that may not be the best idea, especially if you live somewhere where temperatures can rise above 90 degrees very easily. Heatstroke is one of the most common occurrences when pets are left in extremely hot conditions whether it be outdoors or confined in a space like a car. The reason being that dogs don’t sweat like we humans do, they actually only have one gland in which they can perspire from and those are located on the pads of their feet. They also use panting to help cool themselves down but these two things together may not be enough if your pet is experiencing a heatstroke.
Here are 4 signs to look for if you believe your dog may be having a heatstroke:
1. Excessive Panting
2. Bright or dark red gums (or tongue)
3. Glazed Eyes
4. Weakness (collapsing)
Granted these aren’t the only signs when it comes to determining if your pet is having a heatstroke but they are some of the most common and easily visible. Others include: excessive thirst, staggering, vomiting/diarrhea, elevated body temperature, seizures, excessive drooling, elevated heart rate and pulse and unconsciousness.
What To Do If Your Dog Has A Heatstroke
First things first, don’t panic!
- Remove your pet out of the source of heat – either into the shade or into air conditioning
- Check the status of your pet – is he breathing normal? disoriented? able to stand? If so, you can offer him small amounts of water (too much water at one time can cause him to vomit and dehydrate him)
- If possible take his temperature (through the rectum). – A normal temperature should be between 101.5 give or take a degree or two. Anything above 104 degrees is too high!
- If he has an elevated temperate or you suspect that he may he overheated begin the process of cooling him down – soak him in cool water, not cold, concentrating on the head, neck, pads of the feet and legs
- If at all possible place them in front of a fan or in air conditioning as this will speed up the cooling process
- Retake his temperature checking to see if it is at or has fallen bellow 104 degrees
- Call you veterinarian and tell them that you’ll be bringing your dog in – it’s always a good idea to call in advance if possible so the staff there can prepare for your arrival
- TAKE YOUR DOG TO THE VET – even though your dog may look as though they are recovering just fine you should still take them in to be certain that there are no issues
How To Avoid Heatstroke
1. If possible avoid walking or playing with your dog during the middle of the day when the sun is the hottest. Early mornings and after sun down are great times for running around with your dog!
2. Always have fresh water available for your dog to drink
3. If you keep your dog outside, always provide an area with complete shade
4. Avoid walking on asphalt/concrete as it can burn your dogs pads
5. Never leave your dog in a car… EVER!
Making sure that your pup stays cool shouldn’t be a daunting task neither should it scare you away from doing all the great things summer has to offer! As long as you take the right precautions you and your pup can enjoy rolling around in the sand (in the early morning or evening of course) and long leisurely walks all summer long!
Stay cool guys!