Preventing heat exhaustion in dogs can be a little tricky. Knowing what to look for in your pet is key. During the summer months, especially here in the Arizona valley, temperatures can be lethal for humans as well as for our pets. Therefore, while outside with your dog, please be mindful of the signs of heat exhaustion, which could lead to a potentially fatal heat stroke.
Heat Exhaustion Signs in Dogs
1. Heavy Panting – The first sign of heat exhaustion is heavy panting. Since dogs are incapable of sweating, their only way to cool their internal temperature is through panting.
2. Pay Close Attention to Certain Breeds – Certain breeds with heavy coats (such as Shelties or Chow Chows) and those with short snouts (such as Boxers and Pugs) are much more susceptible to heat exhaustion and should be watched closely while in hot temperatures.
3. Weakness – Dogs may experience weakness in extreme heat. If your usually upbeat dog is acting lethargic, heat exhaustion may be causing it.
4. Disorientation – You may notice that your dog is unaware of his/her surroundings. This is typical during heat exhaustion (same as with humans).
5. Vomiting – If you know your dog hasn’t eaten anything to cause this reaction, it could be heat exhaustion.
Heat Stroke Signs in Dogs
Worse than heat exhaustion is heat stroke. If heat exhaustion is not caught in time, you’ll see these signs in your pet.
1. Heavy Panting – This is also the first sign of heat stroke.
2. Disorientation – Another characteristic of heat stroke.
3. Diarrhea – This often occurs in the event of a heat stroke.
4. Seizures and/or Coma – Another very serious symptom of heat stroke.
Preventing heat exhaustion is easy to do. Even so, it sometimes happens. Therefore, it is very important to spot the signs early before a heat stroke occurs. Unfortunately, heat strokes is often times fatal. Pet owners who observe serious signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke should seek help from a veterinarian immediately. In the meantime, there are things that will cool down a dog displaying signs of heat exhaustion:
1. Provide plenty of water
2. Keep the pet in a cool resting place
3. Place a cool, wet towel around the dog’s neck
4. Ice packs may be placed on the dog’s armpit or neck area
Preventing Heat Exhaustion
Some very simple steps can be taken to avoid the serious effects of heat stroke and heat exhaustion in pets.
- Avoid taking your dog outside during the middle of the day in the hot summer months. Potty breaks should be limited to quick in and out.
- Walk dogs only during the morning and evening hours when the temperature is cooler. Even then, be careful of how far you are walking and keep an eye on Fido’s behavior.
- Provide plenty of fresh water at all times. Considering switching it periodically for fresh cooler water.
- Never leave your pet outside, tied up, unattended, or in a vehicle when it’s hot outside.
- The rule of thumb is that if it’s uncomfortable for you, it’s probably uncomfortable for them.
The AKC also put together an article noting “How Hot is Too Hot”?
For More Information
If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC House & Pet Sitting. We are also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. View more of our articles on pets here.