Protect Your Dog from Heat Exhaustion This Summer
As you allow your dog to play outdoors this summer, you also have to protect it from the rising heat. Dog Heat exhaustion in dogs can escalate to something more serious if not addressed early. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe this summer.
Fun facts about dogs…
Dogs sweat just like humans. Unlike humans, their skin is covered with fur which leaves little room for the skin to sweat. As a coping mechanism, dogs expel excess heat through panting and releasing sweat through their foot pads. This system works best when the environment has moderate heat.
So what happens when it becomes too hot in the day?
Your dog will try and expel as much heat as possible through panting. If this does not work, the poor chap will start experiencing heat exhaustion.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs
Be aware of how your dog responds to the weather changes in summer. If your dog is getting overwhelmed by the hot weather, he won’t be the jovial bubbly fellow you are used to having. In some dogs, behavioral changes can be so subtle that you need a microscopic eye to notice.
Fortunately, symptoms of heat exhaustion in dogs are similar across all canines. You can always check for the following signs even when your dog appears fine.
Panting after a day of having fun is normal for any dog. If panting progresses, it could be the early signs of heatstroke. Your dog’s tongue will appear longer when panting than normal. This is because the dog is trying to let out as much heat as possible.
Dog with Red or Pale Gums
When you notice your dog panting a lot, examine its gums. If they appear pale or too red, then your dog has heat exhaustion problems. The tongue will also have a bright red color from the normal pink.
When heat exhaustion in dogs becomes too much, your pup will start drooling excessively. This symptom is hard to gauge as excessive salivating can be a sign of poisoning as well. Watch out for other symptoms that accompany drooling.
Excess heat can cause dizziness in your dog. The dog’s gait appears sluggish and his normal activity reduces. Staggering and dizziness can render your pup immobile. He will spend most of his days sleeping as he always feels tired.
Dogs Collapsing and having Seizures
The intense heat your dog is experiencing may cause episodes of fainting. When the condition worsens, some dogs will experience seizures as well. When you see your dog collapsing, things have gotten worse. You need to help him immediately.
Dog has Reduced Urine
Extreme heat can reduce your dog’s frequency to urinate. This is one of the early signs that your dog is dehydrated. It is important that you monitor your dog’s bathroom breaks this summer season. If you notice any changes like reduced urine or the urine having a strong tinge, your dog is not getting enough water.
Increased Dog heart rate
One other sure symptom of heat exhaustion in dogs is increased heart rate. As your dog loses water, blood pressure also drops in the body. This causes the heart to beat faster to compensate for the loss. An increased heart rate is often accompanied by breathing distress.
Which Dogs are at Risk of Heat Exhaustion?
Did you know that some dogs are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion than others? Learning your dog’s physiology helps you know whether they are well equipped to combat the hot weather.
Obesity is one of the predisposing factors of heatstroke. A dog that is obese will suffer difficulties in breathing and expelling heat from the body. It is possible that your dog is adding weight without your knowledge, especially dogs with lots of furs.
The shape of your dog’s face determines whether he can cope in hot weather or not. Flat-faced dogs like bulldogs and pugs will have a hard time living in hot environments. This is because they have tiny nostrils which cause difficulty in breathing.
Some underlying diseases could also trigger heatstroke in dogs during summer. If your dog has a cardiovascular disease it will affect its heart rate especially when blood pressure drops. Dogs with existing neurological conditions also find it hard to cope in extremely hot weather.
Long-haired dog breeds suffer heat exhaustion faster. Their thick coats make it hard for them to sweat out the excess heat. Think of it as wearing a heavy black leather jacket in 30-degree weather.
While playing is fun, too much of it can cause heat exhaustion. This is especially true for toy breeds like poodles and Chihuahuas. They have tiny tongues and foot pads which are not sufficient for expelling excess heat. They wear down fast after only a few minutes of play.
How to protect your dog from heat exhaustion
If you notice any of the mentioned symptoms in your dog, tend to the poor fellow immediately. Pick the dog up and take it to a cool shady place. If you have some water with you, pour some of it on the dog’s coat to help it cool faster. If you do not have any water with you, fanning the little fellow helps as well.
Never use ice cold water to cool down a dog. The extreme cold will cause your dog’s body to go into shock. Taking the dog under a shade and fanning it works all the time. You could also pour the ice cold water around the area your dog is going to lie on. Let the water sit for a few seconds before placing your dog on the patch. The cold ground will help cool your dog’s coat.
Observe the dog’s skin for signs of heat burns or inflammation. Some dogs may start licking and chewing their paws to soothe the heat burns. A quick home remedy is to pour mouthwash on the dog’s paws to soothe the burning sensation.
Never fail to take your pet to a vet clinic when they suffer heat exhaustion. Even when the dog recovers, they need a medical checkup to ensure they are okay inside and out. It also pays to keep your dog hydrated during this month. Use electrolyte water like Bullyade to quench your dog’s thirst and also replace the vitamins and minerals lost during sweating. You can mix the powder in their food too.