Your dog’s fur does a great job of keeping it warm during the winter. But when the temperature heats up, your dog’s coat isn’t very useful for helping to regulate heat. Instead, the way dogs get rid of heat is through a combination of panting and the glands in their footpads. While this works fine in normal conditions, dogs can only deal with so much heat.
If a dog gets too hot, it can cause their body to overheat. In a worst case situation, this results in a heat stroke. Since heat stroke can be a very serious condition, it’s important to understand how to recognize the signs and what to do if it happens. Just as importantly is knowing what you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Signs and Causes of Heat Stroke
Excessive panting is an early sign that a dog is overheating. If this continues, a dog will begin to exhibit other signs of discomfort. It’s important to take stock of the surrounding temperature and decide if it seems too hot for a dog. The most common cause of this type of incident is a dog getting left in a car on a hot day. It can also happen if a dog is outside during the peak heat and is either too active or doesn’t have enough shade.
What to Do If Your Dog Has a Heat Stroke
Heat stroke can cause a dog to loses consciousness. If this happens, run cool water over your dog while preventing any water from going in its mouth. You can also apply an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables to the dog’s head. You’ll want to massage your dog’s legs and then let your dog drink as much water as it wants upon waking. Putting a pinch of salt in the water can help your dog get lost minerals back. Then as soon as possible, get your dog to the vet so it can be checked for unseen problems like kidney issues, brain swelling or abnormal blood clotting.
How to Prevent Heat Stroke
The most important thing you can do is never leave your dog in your car during the summer. Even if it’s just a few minutes, temperatures can quickly spike to unsafe levels. It’s also important to avoid too much activity during the hottest hours of the day. And when you are outside with your dog, make sure there’s shade and fresh drinking water available.
If you can’t be with your dog during the day and want to ensure it’s in a safe environment with loving professionals who know how to prevent issues like heat stroke, be sure to take a look at our dog day care services for Cincinnati and the surrounding areas.