1 OF A 2-PART BLOG SERIES ON SUMMER DANGERS FOR YOUR DOG
Summer can be the most dangerous season for your pet. While cats are affected by the heat, they mostly stay inside; dogs, on the other hand, love to romp outside. They don’t sweat the way humans do, so their body temperature is regulated mostly through respiration–panting. If a dog’s respiratory tract cannot remove heat quickly enough, heat stroke can occur.
Heatstroke is an emergency and should be treated immediately.
Following are some situations that can cause heat stroke and dehydration in your pet:
■ Being left in a car in hot weather
■ Exercising strenuously in hot, humid weather
■ Being a flat, short headed breed, such as Bulldog, Pug, or Pekingese
■ Suffering from a heart or lung disease that interferes with efficient breathing
■ Being muzzled while put under a hair dryer
■ Suffering from a high fever
■ Being confined on concrete or asphalt surfaces
■ Being confined without shade and fresh water in hot weather
■ Having a history of heat stroke
■ Excessive panting
■ Increased salivation
■ Dry gums that become pale, grayish and tacky
■ Rapid or erratic pulse
■ Vomiting; diarrhea; and possible rectal bleeding
If you think your dog has heatstroke, get him into the shade immediately. Take the dog’s temperature; a normal, resting temperature for a dog is between 100-102 degrees. Cool off his body with cool, not cold water; use running water, such as a hose. Don’t submerge the dog in a pool or tub–it can cause shock, cardiac arrest and bloating. Whatever you do, don’t try to give him any of those human, electrolyte drinks but, rather, stick with plain, fresh water.
Once his temperature starts to drop, take him to the veterinarian immediately.