Info about Dogs and Heat Exhaustion
Just as humans can get overheated and cause issues with their body, dogs cathean too. It’s important to know this and watch to prevent your pet from suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Your dog will overheat in pretty much the same ways you would, with a few differences, we’ll go over some tips to help prevent overheating further down in this post. But for now, why don’t we go over some signs that your dog is overheating.
It is important to catch overheating as soon as possible to prevent serious damage to internal organs. Some early warning signs include:
- Panting excessively or loudly
- Your dog gets very thirsty
- Increased heart rate
- Vomiting frequently
- Thick saliva
- Pale gums and a bright red tongue
- If you pull up “tent” their skin around their neck it won’t snap back into place
If your pet exhibits only a single indicator that may not mean they are overheated, but may have something else going on. Missing some of the early indicators above could lead to more significant signs of overheating listed below:
- Their gums have turned blue or purple
- Weakness or fatigue
- Difficulty breathing
More information about heat exhaustion and stroke can be found on PetMD.
If your pet shows these signs and you believe they might be having a heat stroke there are several steps you should follow, we have these listed out toward the bottom of this post.
8 Tips to Beat the Summer Heat
Here are some hot tips to keep you and your pet cool this summer!
- Do your best to limit outdoor activity with your pet. It can be easy for you to tell when you get too hot but it can be much harder for your dog to tell you they’re hot. The best times to go outside would be the cooler times of day; early morning, rainy periods throughout the day, or evening when the sun is going to bed for the day.
- Water! Just as it is important for a human to stay hydrated, dogs need to stay hydrated as well.
- Do not leave your dog in the car! This is EXTREMELY dangerous and can easily lead to heat exhaustion or even worse.
- Sunscreen is fantastic for protecting your skin, and guess what? It can even help your dog! Put a little sunscreen on their nose, that is the only spot on their body that isn’t protected by their fur.
- Avoid pavement! The dark color of the street absorbs heat and can be very hot and you wouldn’t want your pet stepping around on it. A nice little trick is to place your bare foot or the back of your hand on the pavement and hold it there for 10 seconds. Too hot for you to keep it there? Then it’s probably too hot for Fido as well.
- Brushing your dog will do more than just make your groomer happy. Brushing your dog also allows the heat that builds up underneath their coat to escape.
- Speaking of grooming, it is best NOT to shave your dog short for the summer. Interestingly enough, their fur is built to withstand different temperatures! Having short fur leaves them more at risk for sunburn, heat stroke, and other things.
- Water can do more than just be a nice cool drink. Try setting up a small kiddie pool for your dog. Maybe wrap a wet bandanna around their neck.
How to Treat Heat Exhaustion in Dogs
If Fido seems like he may have gotten a bit of heat exhaustion there are several things you should do to help treat it. First of all, get out of the heat, staying in the heat will only make the issue worse. Your pet is probably thirsty , so give them a small quantity of water, then more small quantities at regular intervals. Drinking water too fast can cause other issues, like vomiting. If you have a hose nearby try lightly hosing to help cool off, however you will need to watch the pressure and temperature, too cold of water will cool them off too fast and can cause shock and other complications. Once Fido seems to be doing a bit better you should contact your veterinarian and seek advice to further steps from them.
If you follow the proper steps to keep your dog cool you shouldn’t ever need to truly worry about heat exhaustion. Keep in mind though that the risk is always there. So, what are you and your pets doing over the summer? Are you going somewhere fun? If you do please let us know and Suggest it to Scrappy!
A Little Fun Trivia to End On
So, it’s the “dog days of summer,” but where does that term come from? Well, it all goes back to ancient Roman times when the Romans referred to the period from around July 3rd to about August 11th as the “days of the dogs.” This term came from space! The constellation Canis Major contains the star Sirius, the dog star. Sirius is the second most visible star from Earth, the first being our sun. During the period from April to early May the star is visible southwest just after sunset. But by the “days of the dogs,” Sirius would rise and fall with the sun. Ancient astronomers believed that it combined it’s heat with our Sun to make it even hotter outside. With more modern knowledge of space however, we know Sirius is around half a million times further away from us than our Sun and doesn’t have any effect on our temperatures.