Summer means relaxation, holidays, and total fun in the sun. However, while enjoying the high temperatures this may also put your dog at risk of heatstroke. This article is your perfect guide on how to take care of your four-legged friend.
Staying safe and cool is as important for dogs as for humans. That is why it is good to know the signs, symptoms, and preventions for your dog.
What is Heat Exhaustion & Heatstroke in Dogs
Dogs don’t deal with heat very well and do not sweat out the excess of their body heat. Dogs have sweat glands on their paws, helping a little in regulating their body temperature. Dogs also prefer breathing open-mouthed. That process is called panting.
But in some situations, the panting doesn't help your dog much in overheating.
Heat exhaustion that is also known as hyperthermia, happens in dogs when their body temperature elevates above the normal temperature. It's generally 39 Celsius or 103 degrees
If the temperature is constantly rising & reaches about 106 degrees, your dog can experience heatstroke leading to hyperthermia. During hyperthermia, your dog's organs can start shutting down, and the heart could also stop working, so you should know how to detect overheating.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Overheating in Dogs?
A dog can be in severe distress due to heat exhaustion. So, the very first symptom is excessive panting. A dog that is dangerously overheated may collapse or could experience convulsions, vomiting, or diarrhea.
A few important symptoms could be the colour changing of gums or tongue; they may turn blue or pale from a bright red.
A few of the other common symptoms of overheating in dogs include glazed eyes, a rapid heart rate, dizziness, excessive drooling, lack of coordination, lethargic, fever, and loss of consciousness.
Another early sign of recognizing is that the dog may be less responsive to the commands than usual.
All dogs are at risk if the conditions are right; some breeds are more prone to it than others. Especially those with thick coats that are more suited to a colder environment.
The dogs that are overweight and those suffering from medical problems that could cause difficulties in breathing or heart problems are especially susceptible.
Environmental factors can also be one of the factors that put dogs at risk. The owner must be aware of high temperatures but also the high humidity, which could increase the chance of heat exhaustion.
All dogs are at extreme risk of severe overheating if not provided suitable shade or a cooler place for relaxing indoors. The dogs in hot cars are at extreme risk of heat stroke & heat exhaustion.
How to treat your dog for heat exhaustion
3. Apply extra cool water around the ears and paws. This will help reduce the fever.
4. Get a fan and place it in front of them. A pet thermometer is handy, check your dogs temperature every few minutes (note - probably not a good idea to use a glass thermometer, in case your dog bites it) Once their temperature drops to 39 Celsius or 103 degrees (F), the fan can be removed and water need not be applied.
5. As your dog continues to cool down, give them small amounts of lukewarm or cool water to have a drink of. Again be careful not cold water,
6. Call your vet as soon as possible. Even if it looks like your dog seems to be recovering, Its worth having them checked or monitored for dehydration, shock and organ failure. Lots of complications can come from heat exhaustion. Your vet can advise you on the steps to take next.
Preventions to stop your dog overheating
What ever you do, don't leave your dog in the car
Don't leave your dog out in the car with the windows cranked up. Even on a cool day as well. The temperature in the closed cars rises extremely fast, so does the body temperature of your dog.
Don't keep your dog in the sun for too long
Dogs spending a lot of time out in the sun without the means to find shaded cooler areas are at a higher risk of overheating. So, instantly move your dog indoors with air conditioning, shade, under a fan or on a cold tiled floor.
Use water or wet items
If there is fresh water available near you, such as the baby pool or a lake, let your dog dip into it and cool down its body temperature. Otherwise, in case of non-availability, use wet clothes/ towels to cover.
Aged dogs are at a higher risk
Carefully observe all dogs but specifically those of an older age. Aged dogs tend to be at higher risk compared to their younger counterparts
Understand the breed of your dog
Its great to know and understand the breed of your dog, especially breeds that are more suited to colder climates. learn about their heat sensitivity and ways that they let you know that they are too hot.
Keep your home cool
Make sure to maintain a cool temperature at your home, install a room temperature monitor if you have a home that is hot in the summer months so that you can keep check.
Summer can be fun, but you have to make sure that your dog is not at risk of overheating. In case you notice dog overheating signs, contact the veterinarian immediately.
Happy summer to you and your dog!