What You Need to Know About Dog Heat Exhaustion
Dog heat exhaustion can be deadly, especially if it is not taken care of as quickly as possible. Just like humans, dogs can overheat and pass out. Too much sun and heat suck the moisture from the air, making it harder to breathe.
Dogs have ways of cooling themselves down, especially during the hot summer months when the sun beats down for hours. Either way, heat exhaustion can still strike even with these natural cooling techniques.
What Causes Dog Heat Exhaustion?
The major cause of dog heat exhaustion is over-exposure to heat and the sun. Many scenarios can cause your furry friend to feel faint and uncomfortable. For example, playing with your dog outside at noon under a 95-degree sun can overheat your poor puppy.
It is best only to walk your dog when the weather is cloudy, or there is a cool shady area. Temperatures that reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit are dangerous.
A lot of heat is trapped in a dog’s coat and fur because of how thick their fur is. Unlike humans, dogs have long coats of fur that surround and cover their entire bodies. This only trap heat, causing suffocating heat that is nearly impossible to cool down from.
What Does Dog Heat Exhaustion Look Like?
Not all dogs react to heat the same way. However, most dogs suffering from heat exhaustion share similar characteristics and symptoms. For example, dogs severely dehydrated from heat exhaustion will pant heavily for hours until they cool down and receive enough cool water. Not only will a dog pant, but it is common to see dogs pace back and forth while shaking under heat exhaustion.
Dogs will move back and forth with small steps to cool down by creating a fake breeze. One way that dogs cool themselves is through the bottoms of their paws. The heat leaves from a dog’s paws, which is what cools them.
If they stand in one spot for too long, especially with their paws underneath, this can make it hard for them to cool down. The heat, instead, is trapped in your dog’s body without a release, slowly rising their internal temperature.
How to Prevent Dog Heat Exhaustion
Preventing dog heat exhaustion is even easier than treating it. First, make sure that wherever you go that is outside, your dog has a cool-down station with a large drinking bowl filled with water. Don’t give your puppy any treats while they play outside. The saltiness and the dryness of these treats can cause your dog’s mouth to lose moisture.
Hydration is everything! To keep your puppy cool and relaxed during the beating summer sun, they need hydration. If you have a backyard and want your playful dog to enjoy playing outside, experts recommend adding a small kiddy pool. Make sure that the water is full enough to be half of your dog’s height to decrease the chances of drowning.
It is easier to also not take your dog out once the temperature has gone above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can feel the sun prickling at your skin, know that your dog feels the same thing!
Tools to Bring on Walks to Prevent Dog Heat Exhaustion
If you need to walk your dog while the sun is scorching hot, there are a few tools and resources you can bring to help keep your furry dog cool. To keep them cool, make sure to pack plenty of cold water and a small collapsible bowl. There are some bowls that come with a small hook and attach to belt buckles with ease.
The water should not be ice cold, though. As tempting as it is to feed your dog ice water, this can actually cause them to go into shock as the sudden difference in temperature is large if you want to protect your dog’s feet from the cement, which can reach well above the outside temperature, bring with you small booties that are airy and light. Dog shoes come in handy when the concrete is sizzling from heat and direct exposure to the sun.
How Do Dogs Cool Themselves Naturally?
Although pet owners can help their dogs cool down, dogs are smart creatures with biological tools to help cool themselves down naturally. Like humans, heat is released and mainly trapped in your dog’s paws, head, and mouth. To release the heat, the dog pant or exhale rapidly. This reduces the internal heat while also releasing heat trapped inside of your dog’s body.
As stated previously, a dog’s paws are also heat releasers. The paws are one of the coolest body parts of a dog. The pads underneath protect from different textures while also providing cool relief.
Dog Heat Exhaustion is a Serious Situation
Heat exhaustion is a serious medical condition, especially in dogs struggling under the hot sun. You should keep your puppy cool during the hot summer months, as direct sunlight can overheat and hurt your puppy. Even dogs can get sunburns on their coats, nose, and lips. Keeping a nice, cool, and a shaded area outside with plenty of access to water can help your furry friend beat the heat!
Share This Article
Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!