Heat exhaustion can be fatal if not treated immediately. The weather is warming up out there – be extra careful with your dogs. If your dog over-exercises on a hot day or is stuck inside a confined space with no airflow such as a parked vehicle, they can suffer from heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion occurs when the dog’s ability to regulate its body temperature is lost.
The following tips will help protect your pets from heat exhaustion:
- Keep plenty of cool, clean water in a spill-proof container available to your pets. When outdoors, your dog may enjoy a baby pool filled with fresh water to lie in when it is very hot out.
- Bring pets inside, especially during the hottest hours of the day. Be particularly careful with senior and overweight pets as they have more difficulty regulating their body temperatures.
- Brush your pet’s coat to keep it free of mats. Do not shave off your pet’s coat completely because bare skin can get burnt in the sun. Fur protects your pet from the heat and insects and retains cooling water after a refreshing swim or wetting down from a garden hose.
- Exercise your pet during the cooler morning and evening hours. Avoid the hot pavement that can burn and blister your dog’s footpads. On hot, humid days, avoid jogging or running with your pet.
- Don’t take your pet with you when you head out to run errands. The temperature inside a parked car can kill a pet in a matter of minutes – even when you park in the shade and leave the windows cracked open.
The following are signs of heat exhaustion:
- Loud, rapid panting
- Rapid pulse
- Excessive salivation
- Elevated body temperature
- Glazed look in the eyes
- Pale, tacky gums
- Staggered walking
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, cool your pet down immediately by placing them in the shade and sponging or hosing them down with cool water (especially on the head, footpad and groin area). Give your pet small amounts of water to drink. If they drink too much water too quickly, they may vomit. It is recommended to have to your pet examined by their veterinarian if you think they are experiencing heat exhaustion.