WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The dog days of summer are here. But despite that common phrase, dogs and our other furry friends need to be protected in high temperatures. Heat stroke is a real threat with serious repercussions. Check out this information from Friendship Hospital for Animals on how to prevent it, and what to do if you spot warning signs.
Be aware of heat advisories. On days with high heat indexes, both you and your pet should limit your time outdoors. Panting is how dogs naturally cool off instead of sweating. Sometimes panting isn't enough and a dog's body temperature can get too high; which can be fatal. Take your dog on longer walks in the early morning or after the sun sets.
Watch out for heat stroke warning signs. If your dog is panting longer than usual, they're having trouble cooling down. Beware if your dog also seems abnormally hyper or lethargic. Other symptoms of heat stroke include collapsing, convulsions, a change in gum color, vomit or diarrhea. If your dog's experiencing any of these, take them to the veterinary hospital immediately. Try to cool them down on the way there with water, air conditioning, and a wet towel.
Some breeds are more sensitive to heat. Dogs with flat faces such as pugs and bulldogs have anatomical differences that already compromise their ability to breathe and dissipate heat. Older dogs need to be watched more carefully in the heat, and dogs with heavier coats have more trouble cooling down.
Know the long-term effects of heat stroke. Heat stroke can lead to brain swelling, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, and blood clots. It's imperative to cool your pet down as soon as you see any signs, and get them checked out to prevent irreparable damage.
NEVER leave your dog in a hot car. Temperatures in cars go up exponentially in the summer. Even if you're just running into the drug store to grab something, don't leave your dog in the car. Just a 10 minute stay can be dangerous. It's also now illegal in 28 states to leave your dog in a hot car. Know the law and how to keep your pets safe in the summer.
This article is sponsored by Friendship Hospital for Animals.