The “Dog Days of Summer” are still lingering here in Southern California. Let me tell you that I am sure ready for it to get cooler outside. Everyone keeps talking about heat stroke these days so I finally had to ask my mom what that term means. Apparently, heat stroke describes an elevation in body temperature which can be caused be an infection (Yuck!) or extreme heat exposure. Mom says certain types of dogs are more sensitive to heat and the possibility of heat stroke: overweight dogs, elderly dogs and short-nosed breeds, like Pugs (Max is part Pug!) and Bulldogs (Me!). Short-nose dogs like Max and I, have a small airway which limits the amount of cool air which we can inhale into our bodies. Humans should pay extra attention to us in this hot weather!
We dogs do not sweat through our skin like you humans instead we release heat primarily through panting and sweat through our paws and noses. If we are unable to release the heat, our internal body temperature will begin to rise. Once our temperature reaches 106°, which is well above our normal 101.8 degrees, our situation becomes dire. Heat stroke in dogs can be easily avoided if you humans know the signs:
Signs of Heat Stroke:
– Increase in temperature
– Vigorous panting
– Dark red gums
– Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up
– Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
– Thick saliva
– Dizziness or disorientation
What to do:
– Move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun
– Begin cooling your dog by placing wet rags on the paw pads and around the head
– Avoid covering the whole body with wet towels, as it may trap in heat.
– DO NOT use ice or ice water! When your dog’s temperature reaches 103.9°F, stop cooling.
– Offer your dog cool water, but do not force them to drink.
– Also try not to let your dog drink excessive amounts all at once.
– Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. .
Remember if it is too hot for you, it is too hot for us!