How to Protect Dogs from Heatstroke?
Summer is a great time to head to the beach and go on picnics with your dog. But besides plenty of outdoor activities, you should also plan on measures to prevent heatstroke. Not just for you, but your dog as well. Remember, your dog cannot handle high temperatures either. When you feel hot, you start sweating. This is your body’s natural way to cope with rising temperatures.
However, dogs can only sweat through their paws. To maintain their body temperature, a dog's body depends on panting. This method works to keep their body cool. But, some limitations that make it hard for your dog to pant during the hot weather. The panting methods can only maintain their body temperature to a certain point.
Keep in mind, with increasing humidity and temperature, your dog will not be able to calm its body. With these consequences, your dog is at risk of suffering from heatstroke. This situation can be fatal, so you need to be careful about it. Your dog will take two to three months to adjust to the high temperature. Therefore, you need to help your dog cope with this hot weather to prevent heatstroke. Before we get to prevention, let's understand how heatstroke works.
WHAT IS HEATSTROKE?
Heatstroke is a serious condition that you should not ignore. Your dog risks developing this condition because of excessive heat, humidity, and physical exertion. They are also at a risk when you tie or lock them up in a hot location. For instance, locking your dog in a car without shades can cause the car to overheat, which can lead to heatstroke.
You're probably wondering what body temperature your dog needs to maintain. The normal body temperature ranges between 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when the body temperature increases to 106 °F, they risk suffering from heatstroke. This will result in the death of various bodily cells, leading to organ failure. In addition, it will also cause damage to the nervous system.
HOW TO PREVENT HEATSTROKE?
The coping mechanism of your dog can help keep them warm instead of cooling down their body. That's the reason why they have fur coats or isolative hair. Also, the sweat glands will only work around the foot-pads and nose. As the panting process is not useful to control the rising temperature, they have no other solution. Here, you will find some common reasons why your dog's body temperature is rising. Under each section, there are some solutions that will enable you to prevent the rise in the temperature.
1. When the Temperature is Beyond the Limits
High humidity and temperature is a common reason for heatstroke. Because of exposure to such extreme conditions, your dog's shedding device will stop working. For instance, when you leave your dog in a car during the hot weather, they will not be able to tolerate it. Even if the weather is cloudy, the heat inside your car can cause trouble. Therefore, never leave your windows closed while the dog is in the car.
In many states, regulating agencies are making sure that dog owners do not leave their pets inside the car on a hot day. If you violate this law, you will end up losing your license. You should check the penalty in your state against leaving your dog in the car and causing them distress.
Many dog owners tie their dogs to fences without any shade. If you care about your dog, you should avoid this behavior. Also, prevent your dog from walking on concrete under sunlight, as they can get extremely hot, burning their paws.
When you keep your dog in the garage, make sure that it has a ventilation system. Proper airflow will keep the garage cool, avoiding heatstroke. Make sure that your dog remains in a shaded and cool area with cold footing. For instance, when your dog walks on grass, stays under A/C or fan, and drinks enough water, they have a lower risk of heatstroke.
2. When Your Dog is Pushing Too Hard or Overexerting
Overexertion is a major cause of heatstroke and overheating. This happens when your dog is performing excessive physical activities under hot weather. You can avoid this situation by preventing extreme activities when the environment is hot. When dogs move their muscles excessively, it builds high energy. This will increase the body temperature. However, hot weather can increase the body temperature above normal. This prevents the body from cooing down.
What you can do is monitor the activities of your dog and keep them relaxed when they are panting. Give them some rest between exercises. You can use a rectal thermometer to measure the body temperature. If you find an increase in their temperature, give them some treats or bring them under cool temperature.
3. When their Water Consumption is Lower
Dehydration can also result in heatstroke, especially during hot weather. Make sure that your dog consumes enough water every day. If you notice that the weather is hot, increase their water consumption. Do not give them ice-cold water as it will shock their organs while they are overheating.
4. When You Notice these Symptoms
Excessive panting is a common sign that your dog suffers from heatstroke. But, you should look out for other symptoms as well. Further symptoms of heatstroke include uncoordinated movement, mental dullness, loss of consciousness, reddened gums, vomiting, and drooling. All these symptoms signify that your dog is in danger. If you don't cool down their body, they risk developing severe problems, such as kidney failure, swelling of the brain, abnormal clotting of blood, and intestinal bleeding.
Upon early identification of the symptoms, you can submerge their body in a pool for faster recovery. You will find plenty of swimming pools in the market, specifically designed to help your dog cool down off. Make sure that you place the pool under shade. The dog swimming pool will help keep dogs cool without curtailing their outdoor activities due to the heat. It can be used inside or outside. Also, the pool is portable to store and carry around when you go out. This is a great summer gift for your pets.
Always keep an eye on your dog when the weather is extremely hot. Avoid outdoor activities and keep them indoors with proper ventilation. This will lower the risk of overheating and heatstroke. Even if your dog is active and wants to play, it is your responsibility as a dog owner to give them some rest. Make sure that their resting location is under the shade. Most importantly, never leave your dog in the car all alone.