Summer is finally here and that also means the weather will be heating up. Just like humans, our dogs can also get heatstroke if they are exposed to too much heat! Although heatstroke is more common during the summer seasons, it is also possible to get it any time during the year. This condition can also be life-threatening if it is not treated immediately. Read on to learn more about what exactly heatstroke is and what steps you can take to protect your dog.
When your dog's body temperature goes above normal temperature (101.5 °F), your dog will suffer from heatstroke. This state of being is commonly described as hyperthermic.Dogs usually try to cool down and remove heat from their bodies by panting and vasodilation of blood vessels. When your dog's two mechanisms for cooling down are overwhelmed, heatstroke occurs. Internal body temperature rises too quickly for them to remove the heat in time. Organ failure and even death may also occur if their internal temperature reaches up to 107°F-109°F and is not immediately treated.
Although heatstroke may occur suddenly, there are certain signs you can look out for. These early signs include:
- Heavy panting
- Rapid breathing
- Tongue hanging out
- Excessive drooling
- Bright red gums & tongue
- Hot skin
- Higher heart rate
More serious symptoms from prolonged exposure to heat includes:
- Very rapid heart rate
- Drop in blood pressure
- White or blue gums
- Dilated pupils
- Muscle tremors
When you see your dog or any dog show these serious signs of heatstroke, they will need immediate medical attention.
The best way to protect your dog from heatstroke is to prevent it and to recognize the early signs of it. When the weather is super hot, try not to allow your dog spend too much time outdoors and avoid overdoing it with exercising. Instead, you can change the times you usually take your dog out for a walk or run such as the early mornings or evenings. Another factor to consider is how hot it is outside for your dog simply by touching the pavement floor with your hands. If you can't leave your hands on the ground for longer than a few seconds, chances are it is scorching for your dogs paws and it could burn them. If you suspect your dog is not feeling well, stop the activity you are doing, get them into a shaded area, and give them some water to drink. Also, just like you wouldn't (and shouldn't) leave your child unattended in the car on a hot day, don't leave your dog in the car either.
We hope that these tips can help you keep your dog safe and healthy this summer season!