Heat Exhaustion/Stroke in Dogs
During these hot summer months it is very easy for dogs to overheat. Humidity plays an important role in this because dogs are not equipped well to handle high heat. They rely on sweat glands in their nose and the pads on their feet along with panting to release excess heat. This is not a very effective method and humidity makes it that much more difficult for the sweat to evaporate from them.
- Pets in cars or in the back of a truck
- Pets left in poorly ventilated indoor areas
- Short nosed breeds
- Long hair breeds
- Pets being exercised on hot humid days
Now that we know which pets are most likely to be at risk the question is how to prevent heat stroke/exhaustion for these animals. If you have to travel leave your pet at home in the air conditioning. Unnecessary excursions with your pets puts them at risk. If you don’t have air conditioning in your home then open the windows and keep the air moving with fans. Outdoor pets should have 24 hour shade and water available. When going on walks or exercising your pet you should always have water and a washcloth with you. Take the short trail on very hot days and save the long trail for another time.
In the unfortunate event that heat exhaustion/stroke does occur you need to know what it looks like and what to do.
- Rapid breathing and/or heart rate
- Difficulty or exaggerated breathing
- Dizziness and lack of coordination
- Excessive barking and/or whining
- Drooling or frothing of the mouth
- Glazed eyes and diolated pupils
- Dark red gums
- Listlessness or unconsciousness
What to do if it happens:
If left untreated dogs suffering from heat exhaustion/stroke will slowly slip into unconsciousness and perish. As we always say, prevention is the best choice. There is no possible benefit of putting your pet into a situation where they are at the risk of heat exhaustion/stroke. Be smart and always carry water with you on these hot humid days.