July has been HOT! While we could be having too much fun in the sun, it’s important to make sure we’re keeping our four-legged family members safe during the summer and prevent them from heatstroke.
What Is Heatstroke?
Heatstroke is where the dog’s body temperature rises 106 °F or higher (normal temperature for a dog is 99.5 °F to 102.5 °F). When the body’s ability to cool down is overwhelmed, it can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions.
Rising Temperatures & Strenuous Exercise
We all love to run errands with our dogs, but please do not to leave them in the car alone. Even with windows cracked, temperatures inside a car can rise 20 °F in just 10 minutes. On a 75 °F day, the car interior can heat up to nearly 110 °F in just 30 minutes.
Walking, running or playing with your dog outside in the mornings or evenings is best as it tends to be the cooler part of the day. Most dogs love to be outside, but with the afternoon as the hottest part of the day, temperatures can get unexpectedly high. Our furry family members can overheat from strenuous exercise in hot and humid weather. While us humans can perspire to cool off, dogs try to cool of by heavily panting which can cause their temperature to rise.
While any dog can experience heatstroke, there are breeds that may be more susceptible. Brachycephalic breeds or “squished” faces such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Boxers and Shih Tzus have a harder time quickly cooling down. While dogs rely on their respiratory system to cool down, because brachycephalic breeds have short noses, it’s more difficult to get oxygen to their bodies when breathing conditions are strained.
Depending on the amount of length exposed to heat, signs can vary from mild to severe. It’s important to know what signs to look for to notice any type of distress. Signs to recognize when your dog is overheating will include heavy panting, drooling, trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat, red or pale gums, lethargy, weakness, and seizures.
It’s an EMERGENCY
If your dog shows any signs of distress and symptoms of heat streak, please seek veterinary care immediately. In the meantime, here’s what you can do to begin the cooling process down:
- Move your dog to a safe, shady or air-conditioned room
- Immediately cool your dog with cool (NOT cold) water or apply wet towels to their body. Avoid ice-cold water because this can cause the vessels under the skin to constrict, making it difficult for heat to escape. The KEY is to cool your dog down gradually.
- If conscious, allow them to drink small amounts of water, but not too much or too fast
PetMD https://www.petmd.com/dog/emergency/common-emergencies/e_dg_heat_stroke (accessed July. 9, 2020)