You’d better believe it! Heatstroke in dogs is far too common in the summer months, and it’s our job as pet parents to be fully attentive to our furry friends’ physical limits.
According to Dogs Naturally, your dog’s normal temperature is between 100 degrees and 103 degrees F. A dog will start to experience heat stroke at 105 degrees F. Any higher and organ damage is at risk.
These are common signs of heat stroke:
- Panting heavily
- Dry or bright red gums
- Thicker drool than normal
- Loss of balance
If you notice these symptoms…
- Move your dog to a cool place.
- Wipe her down with a damp rag or drape a cool, damp towel over her body.
- Pay attention to her inner thighs and stomach where there are more large blood vessels, and on the pads of her feet.
- Try to get her to drink some cool (not cold) water, but slowly. If she gulps down too much too fast, she may vomit, which won’t help the situation.
- Once she’s cool, take her to see your veterinarian for an exam to ensure that there’s no internal damage.
It’s easy to assume that just because you’re comfortable, your dog is too. Most of our dogs can’t handle the heat as well as humans, so just keep an eye out during extreme weather to ensure your dog isn’t overdoing it.
Some dogs are at higher risk than others.
If your dog is older, overweight, short nosed, thick-coated, low-energy, out of shape, doesn’t drink enough water, and/or has underlying diseases, he or she is at a higher risk for heatstroke. In addition, the following breeds tend to be at greater risk:
- English Bulldog
- French Bulldog
- Boston Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Chow Chow
- Overweight Golden Retrievers
- Overweight Labrador Retrievers
Tips to keep your dog cool
- Keep your animal indoors if possible.
- Your pet should never be left in your car for any length of time.
- Walk early in the morning or later in the day when it’s cooler.
- Make sure there’s a shady area if she’s outside playing in the yard.
- Remember that her paws aren’t protected from the hot asphalt, so choose grassy surfaces if you can. If the pavement is too hot for your hand, it’s definitely too hot for your dog’s paws.
- Keep your house cool. Leave windows open, ceiling fans going or the A/C on.
- Walk with water and let your dog drink as you go. Let her take frequent breaks to cool down, and make sure she has access to cool water when she’s in the yard.
- Provide your dogs with access to water at all times.