Preventing Heat Stroke in Dogs
31 May, 2016

Summer is here and it’s important to remember that dogs, like humans, can get heat stroke.   After all, dogs wear a fur coat all day long so think of how hot they can get and fast!  As dogs can’t speak for themselves and pant even when they are just mildly thirsty, there are some signs to look out for to make sure your dogs are not overheated.

Dogs don’t sweat like we do and their inner temperatures rise and fast!

Dogs don’t sweat in the same way that we humans do and the only sweat glands that they have are on the pads of their feet.  Dogs pant to cool themselves off and have an inner mechanism that helps them cool their skin.  But, if the air around them is hotter than their internal system heatstroke can occur.

Some signs to recognize your dog is overheated

There are some signs to recognize that your dog is becoming overheated including: whining, fidgeting, and excessive panting, increased salivation, bright red tongue or gums, depression, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

If you think your dog has heat stroke, cool him off and take him to your veterinarian immediately

If you think your dog might have heatstroke, take him to your vet or the emergency room.  On your way, try to cool your dog off.  Run water over his or her body before and/or place some cold towels on the pads of your dog’s feet.  A cool towel all over your pup’s body will help reduce his temperature as well while in route. Your vet or doctor will then take the necessary steps to ensure dog does not have heatstroke.

Below are some ways to prevent heat stroke during the hot summer months:

Take your dogs on walks in the early morning or evening

Make sure that you take your dogs out early in the morning or at night when it is cooler out.  Always bring water along with you and if your dog starts to walk really slowly or pants excessively, it is time to stop, give him some water and bring your overheated dog home.

Try to keep your dog indoors during the hot summer months

If you can leave your dog inside during the summer months, that is preferable. If you have to leave your dog outside, make sure that your dog has plenty of cool fresh water to drink and plenty of shade. A shaded umbrella, small wading pool, or a place that has shade and shelter is a necessity if your dog is left outside.

Never, ever leave your dog in the car, not even for five minutes!

Most of us know that that leaving a dog in a car, even with the windows rolled down while you run into a store for something can be fatal. The inside car temperature can jump quickly on warm days as well as overcast days due to the concentration of UV rays penetrating the car’s windows.

If you keep your dog out of the heat during the really hot times of day, keep him or her hydrated, you should have no problem during the hot summer months.   This is the best way to prevent heatstroke for your dog.

Another very little know condition that you must know about when your dogs ingest too much water is called Water Intoxication.


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