There’s been some recent publicity about the danger of using dog leads ‘improperly’ – if that’s possible! From an initial reading of the headline, I was also a chuckling sceptic.
Too much direct sun can give your dog heatstroke.
Heat stroke in Dogs: Signs and How to Prevent It
Heat stroke can be a risk for your dog when it’s warm and bright outside, most people want to make the most of the good weather. Picnics, hikes, beer gardens, and barbeques are all activities you might want to bring your dog to. As much as your dog will enjoy the fresh air and summery weather, you will still need to prevent it from overheating. Dogs are unable to sweat properly like humans. Although dogs have a few sweat glands located on their paws, they aren’t enough to keep them cool. When dogs are hot, they pant to try and regulate their body temperature. Panting isn’t always an effective method, and that’s when dogs overheat. It is important you put in appropriate measures to prevent this happening. These are some signs that your dog is overheated.
- Excessive panting
- Excessive salivation
- Less responsive
- Dry, pale gums that may have a blueish/reddish tinge to them
Symptoms of extreme overheating or heat stroke
- Diarrhoea, with potential bleeding from the rectum
- Falling down
- Decreased coordination
- Glassy eyes
How to Prevent Overheating
To keep your dog cool in hot weather, you should always bring water with you wherever you go. Dog water bottles usually have a foldable drinking tray attached to them to make it easier for your dog to drink. You should offer water to your dog as frequently as possible.
If you are sat outside for a picnic or barbeque, make sure your dog has access to a shaded area away from direct sunlight. You could also apply dog-safe sun cream to your dogs for added protection, especially if they are shorthaired and light-skinned. Additionally, purchasing protective foot pads and sunhats for your dog helps protect them from the sun. This will allow your dog to run, jump, and play in hot weather without getting burned.
For extreme hot weather, you might want to consider keeping your dog at home to avoid heat stroke. However, this might not be possible if you have an active dog. Taking your dog for a walk early in the morning or the evening is better as the temperature will be much lower. You could also try wandering down to a nearby stream so your dog can have a swim and cool down in the water.
Make sure you never, under any circumstances, leave your dog unattended in a parked car. Even with windows down, cars can reach incredibly high temperatures. This will cause your dog to overheat, leading to heat stroke or worse.
If your dog has a long or thick coat, you could take it to the groomers for a shorter style. This will help your dog feel more comfortable and cooler in hot weather, helping to avoid heat stroke.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Overheated
If you have a rectal thermometer on hand, take your dog’s temperature to check for heat stroke. Temperatures of 103-106 degrees Fahrenheit indicate your dog is overheated. Temperatures over 106 degrees mean your dog is severely overheated.
To help cool down your dog when it is overheated, you should place cold, wet flannels on its neck, armpits, and between its hind legs. Putting cool water over your dog’s paws and ears can also help. You should offer cool water for your dog to drink, but don’t force it to drink. Wetting your dog’s tongue might help if it seems disinterested in drinking. Make sure the water is cool, but not ice cold, as this could shock your dog’s system.
You will need to phone or take your dog to a vet immediately if you suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke. Heat stroke is very dangerous and can lead to seizures, heart problems, and worse if not treated as soon as possible.