Warmer days are here again! That means vacations, relaxation, and fun in the sun; but the high temperatures can put your dog in danger of heat exhaustion. To make sure all your four-legged family members stay safe and cool ,read on to learn how to prevent and detect heat exhaustion.
What Is Heat Exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion, also called hyperthermia, occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises above a healthy range and they are unable to regulate their own body heat. This condition ranges from mild heat exhaustion, which can be treated at home, to severe heatstroke, at which point your pet can lose consciousness, run a high fever, or even experience organ failure.
Dogs primarily pant rather than sweat, do that makes them much more sensitive to heat than humans are. Luckily, heat exhaustion is easily preventable—even in the dog days of summer.
How To Prevent Heat Exhaustion
1. Never leave your dog inside a parked car, not even for just a minute. Every year hundreds of dogs are left inside of parked cars and suffer heatstroke and die.
On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach over 100 degrees in 10 minutes. On a 90-degree day, it can reach 110 degrees in 10 minutes—and 130 degrees in 30 minutes. This can be fatal.
2. Limit your dog’s outdoor activity. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure they have plenty of water and cool, shady area to rest. Bring them indoors during peak temperature hours.
3. Walk your dog in the mornings or evenings when temperatures are cooler. Bring water with you on long walks and take breaks in shaded areas as needed. Also, consider taking shorter walks and avoiding steep hills or other areas that require more strenuous exercise.
4. Keep your house cool. Sometimes people turn off the AC when they aren’t home to save money. But just like a parked car, the temperature in your home can rise rapidly on a hot day. When you leave your dog at home, keep the AC on if you can. Or set up multiple electric fans to keep certain areas cool.
5. Make sure your dog has plenty of water. The only place dogs have sweat glands is on the pads of their feet, so they regulate their body heat by panting, resting, and drinking water. Always keep their water bowls full, clean and cool.
6. Board your dog during your summer vacation. While it may be tempting to leave your dog at home and have someone come check in a few times a day, this can be downright dangerous during the summer. Even leaving your dog with friends or family can be risky if your dog sitters are not informed about heat exhaustion. Boarding facilities can give your furry friend lots of attention—and keep them cool and safe during the hottest months. We have a new and very comfortable boarding facility for your dog to enjoy and receive all the TLC he or she will need.
7. Know your dog’s medical history. If your dog is older, a brachycephalic breed ( known by their flat faces) or has conditions such as heart disease, obesity, or respiratory issues, it’s even more imperative to keep them cool.
How To Detect Heat Exhaustion
Keep an eye out for these common symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke:
1. Excessive panting or difficulty breathing. If your dog is panting constantly or faster than normal (hyperventilation), they could be overheated. Brachycephalic breeds, like pugs or bulldogs, are more susceptible to heat exhaustion because they cannot pant as efficiently.
2. Dehydration. Signs of dehydration include dry nose, visible tiredness, excessive panting, and sunken eyes.
3. Excessive drooling. Keep an eye out for lots of drool, or drool that is thicker and stickier than usual.
4. Fever. If your dog’s nose is dry and hot instead of wet and cool, they could have a fever. A body temperature above 102.5°F is considered abnormal.
5. Discolored gums and mouth. Bright red, gray, purple, or bluish gums. Can be a sign that your pet is in distress. f your dog’s gums are a different color than normal, they need immediate attention, get them to us ASAP.
6. Lack of urine. If your pet has trouble producing urine, they could be dehydrated or overheated.
7. Rapid pulse. The easiest way to check your dog’s pulse is to place your hand on the inside of their thigh. If their pulse seems elevated, they could be overheated. Normal pulse rate depends on the size of your dog—bigger dogs tend to have slower pulses, while small dogs and puppies have very quicker pulses.
8. Muscle tremors. If your dog is shivering or shaking regardless of outside temperature, it may be caused by heat exhaustion.
9. Lethargy or weakness. Overheating can cause dogs to be listless or have trouble standing up or walking.
10. Vomiting or diarrhea. Abnormally soft stool, or stool with blood in it, is a big warning sign for heat exhaustion.
11. Dizziness. If your dog seems to have trouble walking in a straight line or keeps bumping into furniture, they might be lightheaded from dehydration or heat exhaustion.
These are the most common and easily detectable symptoms of heat exhaustion. If your dog is exhibiting and of these symptoms during the hotter months, don’t ignore it!
When in doubt, give us a call . Keeping your dog safe and healthy is the most important thing.