Summer is officially here – and so are higher temperatures. As much as we welcome the sun and fun, it’s important to remember that the rising temperatures can have a major effect on your dog’s health. Canines can easily get overheated because the only ways they release heat is by panting and through a limited number of sweat glands between their toes. Here is a list of ways to keep your dog cool and hydrated so that they can enjoy summer as much as you do.
Ways To Beat The Heat:
- Don’t walk oe exercise your dog when it is hot. Make simple adjustments to his daily routine by walking him early mornings and evenings when it is a lot cooler.
- Avoid walking on hot surfaces like apshalt as your dog’s paws are just as sensitive to heat as the soles of your feet would be. If the apshalt’s too hot for your feet to walk on, chances are it is too hot for your dog too.
- Dont leave your dog unattended in a vehicle even with the windows down as he can easily get a heat stroke which can be fatal.
- Always carry a portable bowl and bottle of water so your dog does not have to stay thirsty when you are on the go.
- Giving your dog a light summer hair cut can prevent over heating, but never “shave” to the skin, as the coat protects them from sunburn.
- Sponge your dog with a wet towel on his face and body in the afternoon’s to help him cool if you dont have access to an air conditioner.
- Always provide fresh and cool drinking water in multiple bowls around the house.
- Older and Brachycephalic dogs are susceptible to heat strokes so keep an eye on their breathing patterns. Also dogs that are over weight and recovering from illnesses or surgery are more prone to heat stroke.
- If your pet is kept outdoors make sure he has access to shade, a fan and a kid wading pool to cool off.
- Serve watermelon, vanilla ice cream, ice cubes, yoghurt or chilled treats.
- If your dog must go for a walk in the afternoon to relieve himself make sure it doesnt last for more than a couple of minutes and sponge him with some cool water before you do.
What Is Heat Stroke?
Heatstroke occurs when normal body mechanisms cannot keep the body’s temperature in a safe range. Dog’s do not have efficient cooling systems (like humans who sweat) and get overheated easily. A dog with moderate heatstroke (body temperature from 104º to 106ºF) can recover within an hour if given prompt first aid and veterinary care (normal body temperature is 100-102.5°F). Severe heatstroke (body temperature over 106ºF) can be deadly and immediate veterinary assistance is needed.
Signs Of Heat Stroke:
- Rapid panting.
- Bright red tongue
- Red or pale gums.
- Thick, sticky saliva.
- Dizziness – wobbly and unsteady on feet.
- Vomiting – sometimes with blood.
- Sunken eyes and dry chapped nose.
- Dark & concentrated colour urine.
- Loss of appetite.
What You Should Do:
Remove the dog from the hot area immediately. Prior to taking him to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by wetting him thoroughly with cool water (for very small dogs, use lukewarm water), then increase air movement around him with a fan. CAUTION: Using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions. The rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes. Once the body temperature is 103ºF, the cooling measures should be stopped and the dog should be dried thoroughly and covered so he does not continue to lose heat. Even if the dog appears to be recovering, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. He should still be examined since he may be dehydrated or have other complications.
Allow free access to water if the dog can drink on his own. Do not try to force-feed cold water; the dog may inhale it or choke.
Summer heat can be disastrous for dogs, but not if you take the right steps. Follow the tips above to prevent heat-related illness and your dog will get through the dog days of summer just fine.
Please share this post – it may save a dog’s life!!