Avoid Heat Exhaustion
Heat Exhaustion: Things To Know
With summer in full swing, all dog owners should know some basic information about heat exhaustion. Every year hundreds of reports come in of dogs who died due to heat exhaustion. We are here to supply you the much needed facts and advice when it comes to protecting your dogs this summer.
What is Heat Exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion is also known as hyperthermia, not to be confused with hypothermia. This occurs when the body temperature rises above the normal healthy level for a dog. Your dog will be considered heat exhausted if they can’t regulate their body’s temperature. Because dogs can’t sweat they are at a higher risk of heat exhaustion than humans. If you feel hot and uncomfortable, chances are your dog is heating up faster than you.
There are a few common symptoms associated with heat exhaustion in dogs:
- Panting / Difficulty Breathing: if your dog is constantly panting and having a hard time breathing they can become even more overheated.
- Dehydrated: tiredness, dry nose, excessive panting, and sunken eyes are all signs of dehydration.
- Drooling: look out for lots of drool that is extra thick and sticky
- Fever: your dog may have a fever if their nose is hot and dry, instead of cool and wet.
- Diarrhea: extremely soft stool, sometimes with blood, is a big sign of heat exhaustion.
How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion
- Don’t ever leave your dog in the car by themselves. Not even if the windows are cracked, not even if you just have to run into the store. Every year hundreds of dogs are killed from being left inside a car. A beautiful 80 degree day can turn into 100 degrees inside your car in just 10 minutes. There are 31 states that have laws protecting animals in these situations. In some states it’s against the law to leave an animal in the car alone. In other states, someone who breaks an animal free from a locked car is granted civil immunity so they cannot be sued by the owner of the car for damages.
- Avoid being outside for too long. Limit your dog's time outside just to potty time. Save playtime for indoors in the AC if you can. Do you have a dog that loves to be outside so much that they refuse to come in even if it's 90 degrees out? In that case, provide plenty of cool water and shady spots to relax.
- Practice safe walking times. Try to go for early walks before the temperature rises, or late night walks after the sun has gone down. If you must go for a walk during the day make it a quick one, don’t forget that the ground can burn your dogs paws. If you can’t hold your hand on the ground for 10 seconds, skip the walk.
- Always provide plenty of water. When you go for walks bring a dog friendly water bottle filled with cool water. Leave a water bowl in the shade for your dog if they are spending time outside.
If your dog is showing signs of heat exhaustion it’s important to get them inside as soon as possible. You will need to help your dog lower their body temperature since they cannot do it on their own. To do this, get cool water and wet their whole body. Do NOT use cold water, this will cool them off too quickly and put them into shock. If you have a small dog or puppy we recommend you use lukewarm water.
To help their fever go down you can apply a cool compress to their ears and paws. Be sure to allow them to drink as much cool water as they’d like, but no ice! Once your dog has had some time to relax, call your vet right away. They might choose to do some observation on your dog.
Remember, prevention is better than treatment. Keep your dog's safety in mind this summer!