As the warmer summer months approach, its important to remember that dogs are vulnerable to injuries and illnesses related to hot weather including heatstroke, sunburn, and foot pad burns. The most dangerous is heatstroke.  Hyperthermia also referred to as heatstroke, is a body temperature above normal that cannot be reduced through natural means. The condition occurs when the body’s cooling system is unable to lose heat fast as it is gained. The most common causes of hyperthermia are fever, excessive exertion, and confinement in a hot and/or humid area.

Signs of overheating:

 

  1. Body temp over 104 degrees
  2. Panting
  3. Drooling
  4. Vomiting
  5. Muscle tremors
  6. Rapid heartbeat
  7. Bright red gums
  8. Severe weakness

Dogs that cannot cool himself off is at risk for heatstroke, but some breeds and dogs with certain conditions are more susceptible.  Heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems put the dog at higher risk.  Dogs with shorter snouts like pugs or bulldogs have a harder time panting out their body heat and certain breeds don’t tolerate the heat as well as others.

If you see these signs, get your dog inside and contact your vet.

Wrap your dog in cold wet towels, especially the underarm/belly/groin area. A fan may be used on the dog during the cooling process.  Check your dog’s temperature every five minutes and end the cooling treatment when the temperature is down to 103°. Avoid cooling too rapidly to avoid shock. Allow access to cool water, but don’t force your dog to drink. Your vet may push IV fluids if dehydration is a concern.

Dehydration Signs:

 

  1. Sunken eyes
  2. Lethargy
  3. Dry Mouth
  4. Depression
  5. Gently pinch the skin at the top of the neck. Is it slow to snap back?

Follow these basic measures:

 

  1. Provide plenty of fresh water and shade.
  2. Never EVER leave your pet in the car.
  3. Protect your dogs’ paws- Take early morning walks or late evening.
  4. Use Doggie sunblock
  5. Maintain their coat
  6. Keep up on flea prevention
  7. Give your dog its own swimming pool- if they like water

Prevent heatstroke by restricting your dog’s activity during the hottest times of the day, particularly in humid summer weather.  A matted coat keeps heat from escaping: keep your full-coated dogs properly groomed and mat-free or clip the coat short during summer months.  Pay attention if your dog suffers from respiratory problems or is a high-risk flat faced breed.  Always provide access to plenty of fresh drinking water, and when they must be confined, be sure they have proper ventilation and adequate shade.  NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET in a parked car, not even with the windows cracked.  Even shaded cars reach 120 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

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