June 19th, 2020
HOT WEATHER AND DOGS
This time of the year can be great fun for the whole family. Finally, we can get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and take part in outside activities. With this,
however, we need to take precautions with our dogs.
Dogs have very limited ability to sweat (like humans do), when faced with rising temperatures. A dog’s normal body temperature is 39oC. If hot conditions drive their temp up to 41oC, they can only withstand this for a short time before permanent brain damage and death can occur.
Make certain you take these common-sense precautions:
- Provide fresh, cool water for your dog whenever they are outside
- Provide shade or a cooling-off area for them to retreat to when needed
- Don’t over-exercise them – plenty of dogs will continue to play, fetch, etc. without realizing they need to take a break
- Don’t jog, roller blade, or bike-ride with your dog in warm weather; wait until the temperature drops so they are not being over-exerted, and, even then, watch carefully to make sure they’re not being stressed out
- While you can trim your dog’s fur, don’t shave them for the summer. The layers of the dogs’ coats help to protect them from sunburn and from overheating
- Dogs are particularly at risk of heat stroke if they’re:
o flat-faced (like Pugs)
o suffering from underlying heart or lung disease
SIGNS OF HYPERTHERMIA (OVER-HEATING/HEAT STROKE)
Signs that your dog may be getting overheated include:
- Excessive panting
- Trouble breathing
- Increased heart rate or breathing rate
- Stupor (doesn’t seem “with it”)
More severe symptoms can include seizures, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.
WHAT DO I DO IF I SEE THIS HAPPENING?
• Get them out of the hot area they were in, and get them to a shaded and cool area instead
• Try to direct a fan onto them, and start to cool them down with cool (NOT COLD), wet towels over their neck, armpits, and groin region. The fan will help to cool them more quickly by evaporative cooling
• Don’t force them to drink, but you may have fresh cool water nearby in case they show an interest in drinking
• Get them to your nearest vet clinic RIGHT AWAY; HEAT STROKE CAN BE DEADLY IF NOT TREATED AGGRESSIVELY
(adapted from https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951333 and https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips –
please visit these links for more info)