How to Keep your Dog Comfortable on a Hot Day


9484_10152406529095504_1813275392_nvia DogTime
– As warmer summertime temperatures approach, it’s important to remember that dogs are vulnerable to injuries and illnesses related to hot weather including heat stroke, sunburn, and foot pad burns. The most dangerous condition is heat stroke, which can cause organ failure, seizures, brain damage, hemorrhages, blindness, convulsions and even death.

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are dangerous situations for any dog. Heat exhaustion is generally the early stages when a dog begins overheating. You can often remedy the effects by taking immediate action to reduce the animals’ body temperature and prevent the more deadly heat stroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, rapid panting, and the skin inside the ears reddening. Get your dog inside quickly to a cooler area like a basement or near a fan, and offer fresh water. Dampen the skin with lukewarm water and allow it to air-dry.

Heatstroke occurs when the dogs’ normal body mechanisms cannot keep body temperature in a safe range. Dogs don’t have the ability to sweat, and panting can’t fully cool a dog down when they are overheated. A dogs’ normal body temperature is 100-102.5 degrees, a body temperature over 106 degrees is deadly and calls for immediate veterinary assistance. Signs of heat stroke include rapid panting, a bright red tongue, red or pale gums, and thick, sticky saliva. The dog may show depression, weakness and dizziness, vomiting – sometimes with blood, diarrhea, shock, and coma.

Any pet that cannot cool himself off is at risk for heat stroke, but some breeds and dogs with certain conditions are more susceptible. Heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems put the dog at higher risk, and for these animals even normal activities in intense heat can be harmful. Dogs with shorter snouts – like Pugs or Bulldogs – have a harder time panting out their body heat, and certain breeds don’t tolerate the heat as well as others. This group includes English and French Bulldogs, Boxers, the Saint Bernard, Pugs, and Shih Tzu.

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