As summer is finally here, many people are getting to enjoy the warm and longer days. However while you are having fun enjoying summer you need to remember that it proposes some risks for your dog. As normal activities that you do throughout the year with your dog like jogs, walks and playing fetch during the day has it hazards.
These activities can result in your dog overheating causing heat exhaustion which can lead to heat stroke as all dogs have a high risk of overheating. There are some dog breeds that have even a higher risk. They are known as brachycephalic breed which have the characteristics of long hair, short nosed and flat-faced dogs.
What is a Heat Stroke?
A heat stroke or heat exhaustion has the same definition as in humans. Therefore, it is a condition which dogs can develop when there is a failure within the body to regulate temperature internally and externally when exposed to excessively high temperatures. Especially, if you live or are in a region where it hot, humid and dry and dogs will have a greater risk of heat exhaustion and/or stroke.
Dogs, in general, are at high risk from suffering of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke just because of how a dog’s body works. This is because unlike humans dogs do not perspire to cool down; instead they pant. Although panting does help dogs cool down it is not as effective as perspiration. In addition, dogs have fur which is another reason why they heat up so quickly. And unlike humans they are unable to comfort themselves from heat.
5 Dog Breeds Prone To Heat Exhaustion
- Pugs – are prone to heat exhaustion because they are a short-nosed breed. In addition, pugs are not meant to be outdoors as they are an indoor dog. Also, they have a short nose which means that they have a smaller airway which makes it take longer and is more difficult for air to cool down.
- Boxers – are more prone towards developing heat exhaustion because of their shortened muzzle which results in inefficient cooling through panting. In addition, boxer dogs have trouble cooling down during hot weather because they have a lot of flesh in their mouth and throat which makes panting not as effective.
- Bulldogs – are prone to heat exhaustion because of their shorter breathing system. By having a shorter airway this means that it will take much longer for cooling the air down. Also, they are a strong risk to heat stroke because of their flattened face as well.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – are prone to heat stroke as they cannot tolerate high temperatures and cannot efficiently cool themselves down in a quick and safe manner. Their thick coats trap heat and warm up their body and their short face does not efficiently exchange cool air.
- Akita – are a breed of dog that are more likely to develop and suffer from heat exhaustion. This is because their body has to work twice as hard to regulate regular body temperatures and keep organs functioning. They also have a double coat of fur which causes them to heat up much more quickly.
How to Prevent a Heat Exhaustion
As a pet owner of any kind of dog it is critical to make sure you provide your dog with the appropriate resources and care during the summer time to make sure that you pet does not suffer from heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.
Some of the things that you can and should do include the following:
- Make sure you provide shade if you are spending some time outdoors with your dog. This can be done by placing their toys and their water bowl underneath a tree.
- Provide fresh cool water all the time. Make sure that your dog can easily access the water bowl as well.
- Do not leave your dog in the car even if it is for a short time and/or if there is shade. Temperatures in a car can double or sometimes triple compared to the temperatures that are outside. Some states have even made this act illegal.
- During hot summer days avoid outdoor activity during the day. Instead take your dog out during the early mornings or late evenings.
- Providing a small pool for your dog in the background is a great way to help keep them cool during the hot and dry temperatures in the summer.
Learn How to Recognize Heat Exhaustion
It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion in your dog; as it can potentially save their life. Here is a list of a few things which you should be aware of:
- Excessive panting
- Pale Gums
- Increased heart rate
- Drooling and thick saliva
- Increased body temperature
- Muscle tremors
Possible Treatment Methods for Heat Exhaustion
Early recognition is the initial step towards treating and controlling heat exhaustion. The first immediate action that you should take as a pet owner is to remove your dog from the direct heat or the hot environment right away.
Some other methods of treatment include:
- Cool (not a cold) bath
- Apply a cold towel
- Let your dog drink cool water but do not force it
- Soak foot pads with alcohol
- Monitor temperature levels
- IV of rehydrating fluids