Did you know?
Your dog’s body temperature should normally range between 37 to 39 degrees, to keep cool they can only sweat small amounts through their foot pads and nose, but mainly release heat through panting as it exchanges the hot air for cool air.
However, this is not effective and serious, irreversible damage could be done to the dog’s internal system. Heat stroke starts with heat exhaustion, this is the early stage in which dogs begin to overheat.
Heat stroke in dogs
Dogs can suffer from heat stroke within minutes, so it is important to be aware of how to prevent it occurring. This is how;
Never leave your dog alone in a car, not even in the shade or with the windows open. The temperature in a car can increase by 25°c in just an hour. A quick errand could be fatal for your dog.
It is crucial your dog always has access to cool water, even take a dog bowl and water with you on a walk to ensure they can be hydrated along the way.
You could provide a kid’s paddling pool as dogs love playing around in water and it would keep them cool. Another option would be to use a sprinkler.
Walk your dog either early in the morning, or in the late evening when it is cooler. Also, walk on the grass instead of the pavement in hot temperatures as their paw pads can burn easily.
Certain breeds of dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke more easily, especially short-nosed dogs e.g. pugs and bulldogs. Therefore, even more caution should be taken.
How to identify heat stroke in dogs
Bright red tongue and gums
Production of small amounts of urine, or none
What should you do is your dog is suffering from heat stroke?
Firstly, take your dog to a cool area immediately and wet them with cool water (NOT freezing, this could do more damage) and face a fan onto them to increase air movement around them. If the symptoms remain, urgently call a vet. Even if your dog seems better, visit one as soon as possible because internal damage could still have been caused.
How to manage your dog’s skin and coat
All dogs are vulnerable to being sunburnt leading to skin cancer which would involve having extensive surgery, but more pale-coloured dogs are more susceptible. To avoid this, keep your dog inside during the most intense hours of the day, between 12pm and 3pm or, provide them with a shaded area and a bowl of cool water to keep them hydrated.
It is important to keep your dog’s coat groomed to remove matts to keep the dog cool but also, to reduce the risk of any insects or bugs settling and laying eggs as they are very common in all areas during summer.
Run your hands over your dog’s body at the end of a walk to check for any lumps or bumps that could signify something has been picked up, e.g. ticks. They tend to be found surrounding the head, neck or feet.
If any are found, make sure to quickly remove them as they carry diseases, they can be removed by twisting them off the dog or, many pet shops and vets sell other tick removal methods.