I have been there, wondering if I pushed my dog too hard and worrying that maybe I had him out in the sun for too long. He was panting a little harder, getting a little more red than usual and I was scared that I was not careful enough. This was scary and I hope that you do not ever feel in this way. Here is some information to help you be able to better prevent, recognize signs, and care for a dog experiencing heat exhaust or heat stroke.
Going for enjoyable walks, jogs, visiting the park, taking a hike, and playing a game of fetch with your furbabies are just some things we look forward to doing when the weather is nice! Seeing our dogs run around with those happy faces and their tongues hanging out from having so much fun melts our hearts, but can you recognize when they go from having fun to being in distress? You have to make sure that during very hot and humid temperatures you are being extra cautious. First, here are some basic things to remember during summer months or during times of very hot or humid temperatures.
Dogs do not sweat the way that humans do; they have a few sweat glands in their paws, but they regulate their temperature through panting. Sometimes panting is not enough to keep a dog from overheating. When walking outside, also remember their bodies are low to the ground and can heat up very quickly and be careful of the hot ground burning their paws. Remember, this is where their sweat-glands are located.
There are many reasons why some dogs are more prone to heat exhaust than others. Brachycephalic breeds, dog breeds with smushed-in faces, have a more difficult time panting excessively, which affects their ability to regulate their body temperature. Very young puppies, older dogs, and dogs with thick coats and long fur may have a hard time regulating temperature as well. If you have a muzzle on your dog, this will restrict their panting. Also, dogs with heart and lung disease will be more susceptible as well.
Try to keep these dogs inside and follow preventative measures during hot temperatures and very humid days. Very humid weather can increase the risk of heat exhaustion.
Here are signs of overheating to look for In your dog:
Over heating and heat exhaustion in a dog can lead to heat stroke and cardiac arrest. Heat stroke (hyperthermia) is when body temperature elevates to a critical temperature (usually 107 F. - 109 F.). This usually causes multiple organ failure and a very high chance of death. This would be an extremely scary situation to be in and hard to take appropriate action when in the moment.
Here are some actions to take if you think your dog is getting overheated.
1. Immediately take dog to cooler area, preferably air-conditioned room, but
shade if that is all that is available.
2. Use a rectal thermometer, preferably digital, check dog's temp.
High temp 103 F. to 106 F., Above 106 F , DANGER ZONE for heat stroke!
3. If above 106 F. Call Vet Immediately!
4. Wet/Splash dog with COOL water. DO NOT USE COLD or ICE! Cold water
may cause them to cool down too quickly and be detrimental.
Splash cool water on body. (head, ears, belly, between hind legs, armpits)
You may rub rubbing alcohol on paw pads to di-late pores and increase
perspiration. You may rub ice around dog's mouth & anus.
You may use a fan, if available, to help improve evaporation cooling.
5. Try to give Cool, fresh water to dog a little at a time, if he can take it.
Remember DO NOT give Cold water or Ice.
If dog can not drink, do not force or it may go into his lungs; you should
then just wet the dog's tongue.
6. Check the dog's temperature rectally every 30 - 60 seconds.
7. If the temperature drops to 103.5 towel dry dog off to prevent excess
8. Get Dog to the Vet! Call ahead so they are ready when you get there.
It is a good idea to take your dog to be checked if it seems they may have
suffered heat exhaust and definitely heat stroke, even if they have
I hope this information has helped you in any way to protect your little loves. I know how important our dogs are to us and mine have always been a part of my family. Please share this information to make more people aware of the dangers with this Summer heat.