As the Summer winds sweep through and the temperatures begin to rise it’s time to swap out long pants for shorts and enjoy sunny days and starry nights. Exploring the outdoors with your pup or just taking a walk around the city to enjoy the weather is a great way to spend an afternoon, but while it’s relatively easy for humans to keep cool, it’s a bit more difficult for our canine companions. Heat stroke is a common problem for dogs as they don’t always know how to properly self-regulate and they can get deep into the stages of heat stroke before it is noticeable. This post will give you some tips on how to help your pup beat the heat as well as some of the tell-tale signs of heat stroke in canines.
Identifying the Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs
Heat stroke is a form of non-fever hyperthermia that occurs when heat-dissipating mechanisms of the body cannot accommodate excessive external heat. In dogs, heat stroke is typically associated with temperatures in excess of 106°F without signs of inflammation. If left untreated heat stroke can lead to multiple organ dysfunction. Non-fever hyperthermia (heat stroke) can occur in all breeds of dogs, but it occurs more frequently in longhaired dogs and short-nosed, flat-faced dogs. Heat stroke can occur at any age but it tends to affect younger dogs more frequently than older dogs as they are still learning to self-regulate. Common signs and symptoms of potential heat stroke are:
o Excessive panting
o Excessive drooling
o Increase body temperature (Above 103°F)
o Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
o Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine at all
o Sudden (acute) kidney failure
o Rapid heart rate
o Irregular heartbeats
o Stoppage of heart and breathing
o Fluid build up in lungs/sudden breathing distress
o Vomiting Blood
o Passage of blood in bowel movement or stool
o Black, tarry stools
o Changes in mental status/lucidity
o Muscle tremors
o Wobbly, uncoordinated gait or movement (ataxia)
o Unconsciousness in which the dog cannot be stimulated to be awakened
If you notice any of these signs, and especially if you notice a combination of these symptoms, do whatever you can to cool your dog down and hydrate them as soon as possible. If symptoms persist or become worse, get your pup into a cool environment and contact your vet as soon as possible. Veterinarians are used to heatstroke and have IV’s and other methods of hydrating your pup and lowering their body temperature to a safe level.
Tips for Keeping Your Pup Cool in the Summer Heat
The easiest way to keep your pet cool in the summer is to make sure they are properly hydrated and kept in a cool environment. When going on outdoor excursions in nature or the city it is important to keep water with you at all times and to monitor your pup for excessive panting or any other signs of overheating. We suggest taking a collapsible plastic water bowl and a water bottle with you at all times for frequent water breaks. This is a good example of a collapsible dog bowl for smaller dogs, while this one is better for larger breeds. They are both made of Silicone and are BPA free. Here are a few tips for making sure your pup is cool and comfortable during the summer months.
o Provide plenty of fresh, clean water
o Make sure your pup has a place to get out of the sun and be careful not to over-exercise them.
o Keep your pup in a cool indoor environment when it’s extremely hot
o Never leave your pup unattended in a parked car. There are laws against this in many states and leaving your dog unattended in the heat can lead to heat stroke.
o Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never fully shave your dog. The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. If you use sunscreen on your pup make sure that it is labeled specifically for use on animals.
o When the temperatures are extremely high don’t let your stay on hot asphalt for too long. It can cause your pup to heat up more quickly and could potentially burn their paw pads. There are booties for dogs that can help prevent this. Keep walks in the city on extremely hot days brief.
Overall, be mindful of how hydrated your pup is and if you’re out for a long day in the sun make sure to take frequent water breaks in the shade!
Here are some of our favorite products to keep your pet cool in the summer months:
These booties are perfect for keeping your dog’s feet cool against the pavement on hot summer days.
PetSafe is the industry standard for pet water fountains and this model comes in two different sizes to make sure your pup has fresh clean, running water all day long.
This collapsible dog pool is portable, sturdy, and a great way to help your dog stay cool and have fun in the summer heat!
Perfect for keeping your dog cool on a hot summer day.
Great for outdoor expeditions in the sun and easily portable.
These are some of our favorite products for keeping pups cool but let us know on social media how you help your pup beat the heat!