Dogs in Heat May 04, 2015 14:30

Using a title like "Dogs in Heat" I hoped to get your attention. No this isn't a post about THAT kind of "heat", we are talking about the kind of heat that you and your pup are exposed to during the warmer months of the year. Your dog is highly susceptible to overheating.  In fact, I've personally known of several cases of dogs dying after only being exposed to the hot elements for a very short period of time.

Like humans, dogs can handle the heat, so long as they have some shade and a source of water.  Unlike humans, dogs don't sweat to cool off. They pant and use their tongues to cool off their body. Because their mouths are very small as compared to a human's skin, they aren't as efficient in cooling off and are in danger of overheating if not provided a means of cooling down.  

Below are a few tips to help you and your pup deal with the ever rising temps of the spring and summer months:

  • NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A VEHICLE UNATTENDED
 Never leave a dog in a vehicle unattended
  • NEVER CHAIN UP A DOG WITHOUT A PLACE TO FIND SHADE
    • Chaining a dog up in a yard is bad enough and shouldn't be done. If, however, you do chain up your dog, please provide the dog a place to find shelter from direct sun. A small dog house, next to a shade tree, something that the dog can sit under to get out of the scorching sun rays.
  • Although there are a few exceptions, dogs generally don't have the same level of endurance as humans when it comes to walking.  When going on long walks when the temps are higher, bring plenty of water to share with your pup every 10 minutes. Also prepare to find a shady spot to cool off for a few minutes if your pup starts to drag.
  • Although heatstroke is something all dogs are susceptible to, some dogs need extra care to avoid it:
    • Dogs with dark colored fur and/or longer fur coats will tend to overheat more rapidly so be especially careful with them. 
    • Some dog breeds are more vulnerable to heat stroke such as those with "flattened faces" technically called Brachycephalic including Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxers, etc. 
    • Older dogs  
  • Pay careful attention for the signs of a dog overheating which include: hyperventilation, excessive panting, dry gums that become pale, increased salivation, erratic or rapid pulse, confusion, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly rectal bleeding. If the dog continues overheating, his breathing efforts will become slow, or worse, absent. This in turn can lead to seizure or coma. 
  • Give your dog fresh cool drinking water. Do not force water into his/her mouth as they may suck it into their lungs. If they won't drink the water, try wetting their tongue. Do not offer ice to a dog experiencing heatstroke because it could cool their body temps too fast causing shock. Put cool wet towels over their body, particularly around their neck, under the armpits, and between their hind legs.  Also wet their ear flaps and paw pads. If your out and about, seek out shade and/or a source of standing water or someone's water spicket. I've had to use someone's water and didn't mind explaining, if needed. In an emergency, do what you have to do to cool down your pup. 

In a nutshell, NEVER leave your pet unattended in a vehicle or chained up without a place to find shade. Always bring water on longer walks during warm/hot days, take breaks in the shade and pay close attention to your pups behavior.  Contrary to what most people think, although dogs are super athletic and amazing in many ways, they are not built to sustain exposure to the heat for very long and are especially vulnerable on long walks in the sun/heat without a ready source of shade and water.

- Game Day Dogs