When exposed to the hot sun for long periods of time, dogs can suffer from a serious condition called heat stroke. It's important that you know the signs and understand how to prevent your dog from suffering from heatstroke. Here are five facts that you must know.
1. Normal body temperature in dogs is 100.5-102.5 degrees. Heatstroke will occur when a dog’s body temperature reaches 107-109 degrees. Dogs don't sweat through their skin the same way that humans do, instead of dogs sweat through their nose and footpads. This means it can take a dog's body much longer to cool off after prolonged exposure to heat.
2. Certain breeds have a higher risk of heatstroke. This includes short nose breeds, large heavy coat breeds, and dogs with respiratory problems.
3. Since our dogs can't talk, it's our responsibility to know the signs of heatstroke. These signs include:
- heavy panting
- difficulty breathing
- excessive thirst
- thick saliva
4. Prevention is a far better alternative because in most cases by the time that symptoms are visible it is often too late. The best method to prevent heat stroke in your dog is to avoid prolonged sun exposure. If you live in a hot climate, don't leave your dog outside for more than 10 minutes at a time. Do not leave your dog in a car unattended while you run errands. Even with the windows down the car can reach a temperature over 110 degrees, putting your dog at risk for heatstroke.
5. If you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke, there are a few actions you can take.
- Move your dog out of the heat or direct sunlight immediately
- Use cool washcloths and apply them on the footpads and the head
- The cool process should be gradual, avoid using ice water or ice
- Offer your dog water but don't force her to drink
- Visit an emergency vet as soon as possible