When it comes to summer heat and humidity, don’t take chances with your pet. You may feel like getting out in the sun and hitting the trail for a run or bike ride, but it’s important to be mindful of how much heat and exercise your dog can handle during the summer without endangering his health. Keep your dog cool and out of harm’s way this summer by being informed and aware of potential dangers.
Instead of taking your dog out for a run or walk or to the park in the middle of the day, play it smart. Go early in the morning or later in the evening, when the sun is low in the sky. Both the ambient temperature and the pavement will be cooler, and the air will be easier for your pet to breathe.
Dogs release heat through panting as well as through the bottom of their feet. They can’t sweat like we can, so it’s harder for them to stay cool. It’s up to us to be mindful of our pets’ condition and keep them out of harm’s way; this may mean fetching some cool water for them to drink or removing them from hazardous situations when necessary.
If you notice your dog panting heavily, make sure to give him lots of water and get him out of the hot sun and into a cool place where he can take it easy for a while. If your dog develops symptoms more severe than heavy panting, such as disorientation, weakness, vomiting, or diarrhea, take him to the vet immediately. This is no time to mess around. The consequences of waiting could be fatal.
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of dangerous conditions dogs can find themselves in if they get overheated and how to act immediately if your dog shows signs of any of these conditions.
Hyperthermia: Hyperthermia is when a body’s temperature exceeds the normal accepted range (above 103°F for dogs). Dogs experience hyperthermia when they can’t get cool, such as when they’re trapped on a hot sandy beach or inside a car. If your dog displays symptoms such as an irregular or rapid heart rate, excessive drooling, muscle tremors, seizures, or pinpoint bleeding, he may be suffering from hyperthermia. CLICK HERE for a more complete list of symptoms from PetMD.
Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion occurs when a dog gets overheated and his body can’t expel heat quickly enough to keep him cool. The first sign of heat exhaustion is usually heavy panting. If you notice this symptom in your dog, remove him from the heat and give him water so he can cool off and regain his strength. If you don’t, he may become weak and disoriented and could succumb to heat stroke. Other signs of heat exhaustion include increased heart rate, drooling, and mild weakness.
Heat Stroke: Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia where a dog does not experience a fever or inflammation, but his body temperature exceeds 105°F. Heat stroke can lead to multiple organ dysfunction or even death. This can result from over-exercising your dog in the heat, excessive thyroid hormone levels, or abnormalities in the hypothalamus (the portion of the brain responsible for regulating body temperature).
Heat stroke most commonly occurs in dogs with long hair and dogs with flat faces and short noses (brachycephalics), such as pugs and Boston terriers, that have a harder time expelling heat through breathing.
Does your dog yank on the leash and pull you around whenever you try to take him on a walk? We have a solution! On a COOLER day this summer, take your dog out and practice the exercises described in the eBook below. Download it for free, give it a shot, and let us know what you think! If you have any questions along the way, feel free to contact us at any time!