With the weather warming up and summer right around the corner, you may be getting ready for long walks at the park or hikes through the woods with your dog. If you plan to have your dog outside this summer, it is crucial to understand heat stroke and how to prevent it in dogs.
Why Are Dogs at a Higher Risk for Heat Exhaustion?
Dogs don’t have sweat glands the way we do so they have to rely mainly on panting to cool themselves down. Although they have sweat glands in their paws, these glands are not the main mechanism for cooling the body.
Their fur also acts as an insulator, trapping body heat and making them even more susceptible to heat exhaustion, especially if they aren’t used to longer walks in the warmer weather. Dogs that are at a higher risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke include:
- Overweight dogs
- Dogs with darker coats
- Flat-faced (brachycephalic) breeds such as bulldogs and pugs
Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
When walking your dog during the hotter months, it is vital to know the signs of heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke. These signs include:
- Very heavy panting
- Bright red gums
- Hypersalivation (may progress to the opposite, dry gums.)
As heat exhaustion progresses into the later stages, death can occur quickly if your dog is not treated in the ER.
What to Do if Your Dogs Shows Signs of Heat Exhaustion
If you notice that your dog is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to immediately stop your walk, spray your dog with cool water, and call the ER for further guidance.
The best way thing you can do for your pet is to prevent heat exhaustion/heat stroke from happening in the first place. To avoid heat exhaustion/heat stroke, you should:
- Avoid walking during the hottest time of day, which is typically around 3 or 4 p.m.
- Take plenty of water breaks to ensure your dog remains sufficiently hydrated.
- Get your dog used to longer walks by building up their stamina slowly.
Follow these tips to help keep your dog safe and healthy this summer. For more information on heat exhaustion and heat stroke in pets, call the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro to learn more. In the event of an emergency, visit our emergency contact information page for information on clinics that are available 24/7.