Dogs try to lower their body temperatures by panting. They don’t sweat like we do. Dogs do have sweat gland in their feet but nowhere else. So if panting doesn’t work, illness and even death can occur. There is a saying when it comes to dogs: “If the sidewalk is too hot for your feet, then it is too hot for your pet’s.”
What are some other factors to take into consideration with your dog and the heat?
Dogs with pug-like faces are less able to pant as much as dogs with longer noses so they are affected even more by the heat. These could be breeds such as Boxers, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus and Bulldogs.
Also, dogs with thicker or longer fur heat- up faster than short hair dogs as do darker colored dogs vs. light. Too, overweight dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke.
Be careful, too, if your dog has any patches of exposed skin or is lighter in color, especially shorter haired white dogs. He can get sunburned just like you. (YES dogs DO get sunburned!) Avoid using sunblock on your dog because he may lick it off and irritate the spot. If your dog gets a burn, use an aloe vera based product or check with your vet for a prescription.
Some situations to be cautious of in the hot temps are:
- Leaving your dog in a car. Don’t do it, even with the window down, in the shade, or even with the AC on. These are not safe situations.
- Tying your dog in the yard or anywhere. Do not tie your dog where he can’t get to water or shade.
- Exercising in the heat. Strenuous play or running can bring up heat stroke. On walks with your dog, avoid hot surfaces that you wouldn't want to walk on. Consider walking in the early part of the day or later in the evening when the temperatures have cooled down a bit. And please TOUCH the sidewalk before you start your walk! Concrete and blacktop hold heat for a very long time!
Remember to provide fresh, cool water for your dog. This includes not leaving his water dish outside in the sun. That’s like giving him hot water in the heat of summer.
Heat stroke can appear with a number of symptoms including rapid heartbeat, gasping for air, saliva early on with panting and then the gums go dry as dehydration starts, glassy eyes, vomiting, and collapsing. If you suspect your dog may have heatstroke, take him out of the heat and put him in front of a fan. Put wet rags on his body, head, and feet – don’t use ice cold water though. Offer your dog water but don’t force it on him. And call your vet right away.
Keep watching our blog for more informative articles on dogs in the heat www.thefetchfoundation.com