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Summer brings relaxation, vacation, and lots of fun in the sun. The hot weather can also put your dog at risk of heat exhaustion, even if they are alone inside. We know how uncomfortable it can be when we’re too hot. We have to imagine it’s even worse for our friends who are covered in a layer of fur! If the temperature is too warm for people. The same goes for dogs. We may only notice it during the summer. To make sure all your canine friends stay safe this summer, continue reading to learn how to prevent, identify, and treat heat exhaustion before they start seeing crazy colors.
It’s important to understand a dog’s internal temperature is higher than a human’s. Ambient air temperatures feel warmer to them than to us. In addition, dogs pant rather than sweat to release heat; they are much more sensitive to heat than we are. Susceptibility to heat and heat exhaustion varies based on the individual. It’s impossible to give an exact number as to how high a temperature your dog can handle. We never want pets to have lasting effects from being overheated that can also result in anxiety-related destruction.
In general, temperatures between 80- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit mean your dog shouldn’t stay outside for too long and should have ample access to shade and water. In these temperatures, you should keep an eye on your dog in case they exhibit early signs of heat exhaustion. There are also other factors besides the temperature to keep in mind when bringing your dog outside this summer. Keep them cool all the years of their life.
Other factors that can impact how much heat your dog can handle include size, breed, weight, age, how much sleep they need and humidity. The size of your dog and their hair texture is a big factor that contributes to how much heat your dog can handle. Larger dogs need to be monitored more often, as they are more susceptible to heat stroke and developing skin conditions.
The breed of your dog is important because certain breeds have body types that make it easier or harder to handle hot temperatures. For example, pups with shorter snouts, such as pugs or Boston Terriers, need to be monitored as their flatter snouts can make it harder for them to breathe. Overweight dogs are more at risk in the heat, so be extra cautious with your pup if he or she is on the bigger side. In addition, older dogs may feel fatigued easier in the heat and may have a harder time moving to get out of the sun. Puppies are at a higher risk as well because they’re not fully accustomed to hotter temperatures.
Lastly, humidity can play a big role in outdoor safety. This is because humidity can make the temperature feel hotter than it actually is, even if your pet is shedding. A good rule of thumb for this is that if it feels uncomfortable for you to be outside, then it is even more uncomfortable for your dog.
Heat exhaustion is when your pup’s body temperature reaches a point above their normal, healthy range and they are no longer able to regulate their own body heat. This condition can be mild and treated at home or can get so severe that it leads to heatstroke, at which point your pet can become unconscious or experience organ failure.
Common signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke in Dogs to look out for include:
While there are other symptoms of heat exhaustion, these are the most common and easily identifiable. Always keep an eye on your dog if it’s hot outside and don’t ignore it if they’re acting differently than usual.
Prevention is the best way to keep your pet safe when the temperatures are high. The easiest and most effective ways to prevent heatstroke in your pet are listed below.
If you notice that your dog is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion, take them to a cooler area (indoors if possible) immediately. Cool their body temperature by putting cool or lukewarm water on them. Don’t use cold water, because cooling them too quickly can be dangerous as well. Apply water around their ears and paws to help reduce fever. Once you’ve done this, put them near a fan to dry off and check their temperature with a thermometer ever few minutes. When their temperature reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit, you can turn the fan off and stop applying water. Give them small amounts of lukewarm water to drink and call your vet as soon as possible. Even if they seem like they are perfectly fine, they still need to be monitored for possible complications they could endure due to their heat exhaustion.
Lastly, if your dog loses consciousness or becomes very ill, take them to a veterinary hospital right away.
When you are outside having fun in the sun, your dog may want to join you. Keep an eye on them when it’s hot out to make sure that both you and your pup can enjoy a great summer together!
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