With temperatures soaring above 100 degrees, it’s more important than ever to remember to keep your pets cool.
To help dogs beat the heat this summer, BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital has some tips for avoiding and recognizing heat stroke in dogs.
Heatstroke is considered a pet emergency. If not treated, it can result in gastrointestinal upset, internal organs dysfunction, internal bleeding, infection, or in severe cases, death. Heatstroke occurs when a pet’s body mechanisms cannot keep their body’s temperature within a safe range. Pets are unable to sweat like humans, so the effects of heat are felt more quickly and strongly.
How to Prevent Heat Stroke in Dogs
- Never leave a pet in a hot car. Heatstroke can occur within minutes, even on a warm day.
- Ensure the pet has access to shade, ventilation, and water while outside on hot, sunny days. Bring pets inside or to a shaded area once outdoor temperatures reach 80 degrees and humidity of at least 90 percent.
- Create a cooling source while outside, such as a kiddie pool filled with cool water.
- Avoid exercising or walking your pet during peak temperature hours, and on especially hot or humid days. Pets should go for walks early in the morning when it is still cool outside.
- Trim hair short. Longer-haired pets can be given a shorter trim to help ventilate their skin.
- Know if your pet is high-risk. Overweight and elderly pets, pets with cardiac or respiratory problems, and dogs with short noses like bulldogs, boxers and pugs, are heat sensitive. Take extra precautions if your pet falls in one of these categories.
Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs
- Uncontrollable panting
- Foaming at the mouth
- Loss of consciousness (or sudden collapse)
- Tongue and gums that turn from bright red to blue to gray
- Capillary refill time of more than two seconds
What to Do if You Suspect Your Dog Has Heatstroke
- Run cool water over the pet with a water bottle or hose or put them in a cool tub.
- Wrap damp, cool towels around the dog.
- Make water available but do not force your pet to drink. Also, never give sports drinks or electrolyte supplements to pets. These can be harmful to them.
- If your pet is panting uncontrollably or collapses, immediately take them to an emergency veterinary hospital.
Ways to Help Your Dog Beat the Heat
- Hose down hot pavement, patios, and porches. A little water can help keep paws cool and avoid paw pad burns.
- Add ice to water. Ice cubes will help keep the water cool for a longer period.
- Cool the crate. If your pet is crated while you are away, keep a fan on to ventilate the crate and keep your pet cool.
- Dress them in a cold compress. A refrigerated wet bandana will help keep them cool as temperature receptors are located around dogs’ necks.
- Get a kiddy pool. A kiddy pool is a terrific way for pets and people to stay cool.
Most BluePearl hospitals are open day and night, seven-days-a-week, and during holidays. Find a local BluePearl here.