When humans are exposed to heat, our bodies naturally perspire (sweat) to cool us off. Dogs do not sweat and can only reduce their body temperature by panting. When it is also humid, less moisture is evaporated from your dog’s mouth making it even harder for him to release heat. Dogs do have some sweat glands on their pads, but only minimally, which explains why some dogs will dig into their water dish – on hot days especially. They are trying to cool down their body temperature.
When a dogs panting isn’t enough to cool down them down, their body temperature rises quickly. Heatstroke can lead to a coma, organ dysfunction, permanent brain damage, and possible death.
Please take the time to read this as it could save your dogs life.
- Never leave your dog in a parked car when the outside temperature is above 70°F. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows rolled down won’t help.
- Don’t take your dog running or jogging in the heat of the day. Take him out for exercise in the morning or evening.
- Don’t leave your dog outside all day, especially in the heat of the day.
- Provide adequate shade and leave cold water out for your dog anytime he is outside on hot summer days. (Adding ice cubes to his water dish will help to keep the water cooler longer.) You can also attach water misters to the shade which will cool down his area by 10°. Purchase a small child’s plastic pool and fill with a couple inches of water. Dogs like to step into water as cooling down the pads of the paws helps to bring down their body temperature. This will also help to prevent him from digging to try and find cooler dirt to lie in.
- If your dog is overweight, it is important to put him on a light dog food to help him lose those extra pounds.
- Avoid forcing your dog to walk on hot black surfaces such as asphalt, as hot temperatures can scorch your dogs pads causing pain and injury.
If you suspect your dog may have heat stroke:
It is essential to remove the dog from the hot environment immediately. If it is unconscious, make sure no water enters the nose or mouth as you follow these guidelines. Also, do not give the dog aspirin to lower its temperature; this can lead to other problems.
- Put your dog in the bath tub.
- Run a cool (not cold) shower over your pet, covering the whole body – especially the back of the head and neck.
- Allow the water to fill up the bathtub as you shower the dog. Keep the head elevated to prevent aspiration pneumonia.
- If getting the dog into the tub is impractical, use a garden hose to cool the dog or place him in a pool of cool water.
- Apply a cold pack to the dog’s head to help lower his body temperature – a packet of frozen vegetables works fine.
- Massage the legs. A vigorous rubbing helps the dog’s circulation and reduces the risk of shock.
- Let the dog drink as much cool or cold water as it wants. Adding a pinch of salt to the water bowl will help the dog replace the minerals lost through panting.
Hot weather is coming!
Lets all be responsible pet owners and prepare ahead of time.