Hot summer days can be really troubling for dogs just like they are for humans. However, unlike us, dogs do not sweat through their skin, which means that they cool themselves by panting, and sweating through their foot pads and nose. Their cooling system makes it very hard for them to control their body’s temperature in extreme temperatures. Let’s proceed with the article and understand the cooling system of dogs and the risks involved with over-heating.
How does Panting Helps Dogs Stay Cool
Dogs have a coat with fur on it. This fur and coat can be really helpful in keeping them warm during the winters. However, in summers, this coat can increase the dog’s body temperature. Panting is the technique that dogs use to release their body heat. With the help of panting, dogs inhale lots of air into their body to kill the effects of hot air. If the outside temperature is too hot, there is a high chance that panting won’t work. This usually happens during humid weather conditions where there is little evaporation.
What Happens when Dogs can’t Pant
Panting allows the heat trapped inside the body to release. However, if panting doesn’t work either or if the dog is locked inside a car, then its body temperature will continue to rise. When a dog’s body temperature rises to 41.50, the different organs and systems of the dog’s body begin to shutdown. That’s when dogs get heat strokes. However, heat strokes can be completely avoided by the dog’s owner by taking care of the dog’s bodily needs.
Larger breed of dogs are prone to heat strokes including Boxer, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Bulldogs, Staffies, and Pugs. Heat also effects older and over-weight dogs more than others. Therefore, it is extremely important to be cautious and keep the dog protected from hot weather conditions. To be able to ensure that your Personal Protection dogs stays out of danger, you need to learn the different symptoms of a heat stroke to help your dog when it is going through it.
Common Symptoms of Heat Stroke
If you want to provide best care to your dog, you need to keep in mind the following symptoms that will tell you that your dog is having heat stroke.
• Vomiting with blood
• Rectal temperature over 40 degrees
• Excessive panting
• Thick and sticky saliva
• Dry gums
• Red gums
• Increased heart rate
If the dog’s temperature rises to 40 degrees, you should immediately rush it to the vet and if its temperature rises more than 41 degrees, then know that the dog is in danger. Heat strokes can be deadly for your dog. Therefore, you need to ensure that the dog doesn’t get too hot.
Heat Stroke Action Plan
Heat stroke can be fatal. Therefore, if your dog is showing any of the symptoms given above, you need to get onto an immediate action plan to help prevent something bad from happening to the dog. There are several things that you can do to help your dog. Let’s take a look below:
• The first thing that you need to do is to take your dog away from the heat.
• After getting your dog out of the heat, you will need to pour tap water on its body.
• You can also make use of wet pads or wet cloth and rub it against your dog’s foot pads, nose, at the back of its neck, and around its face.
• Do not make the mistake of using ice or cold water to cool your dog as it is only going to cause more problems.
• Keep checking your dog’s temperature every five minutes.
• Once the temperature reaches 39.5 degrees, stop cooling.
• Make your dog drink mild cold water.
• Refrain from forcing your dog to drink cold water as it could cause the dog to choke.
• Take your dog to the vet to get it examined and tested for internal organs.
It is not a good idea to pour chilled water on your dog as it can cause hypothermia. Moreover, if your dog is not in a good condition, call the vet right away. You can save time by taking help from others and while you cool off the dog, someone else can drive you to the vet. The vet will draw your dog’s blood and will test it to find out other damage. Sometimes a dog’s internal organs get damaged, which can only be diagnosed by a vet.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Every dog owner should practice prevention because it helps keep the dog out of trouble and minimizes the chances of a deadly heat stroke. There are several ways with the help of which you can prevent this fatal condition and save your pet fellow.
• Avoid taking the dog for vigorous exercise during the hot summer days.
• The dogs that are aged and large should be kept under shade.
• The dogs with heart and breathing problems should not be exposed to heat or sun.
• Do not make the mistake of leaving your dog in a locked car as the temperature inside the car can increase dramatically causing instant death.
• Avoid using muzzle on your dog as it can prevent it from panting, which is the only way dogs release heat.
• Keep clean and fresh water available to your dog at all times.
• Do not take your dog to places where there is no shade.
• Bathe your dog frequently during summer.
• Pour mild cold water over your dog to keep it cool.
• Keep your dog in a cold room.
• Take your dog for a swim in a hot day.
To prevent heat stroke in dogs, one has to be extra careful, especially with short-nosed or large-sized breed. Heat strokes can result in instant death. However, if you are lucky enough to catch the symptoms early, you can control its effects. Although heat strokes can be controlled but there is a high chance of the dog suffering from permanent organ damage. Therefore, if you don’t want your pet companion to suffer from this horrible condition, make sure you are taking preventative measures to keep your dog cool. Do not make the mistake of leaving your Personal Protection dogs in a parked car even if you are leaving for a couple of minutes. A locked car can heat up to 140 degrees, which may cause your dog’s heart to fail. Be pro-active and keep your dog safe!