Last year as we were heading into a particularly hot week, I shared the following information with the dog walkers of Lifestyle Pet Care, and I think it is timely to share it with you now. Our hot weather can hit very fast! We are all for avoiding potential heat stroke problems.
We’re coming up to a record hot week, which is really hard on our furry friends. I always bring a collapsible water bowl and a water bottle when I walk my dog and any others, and I know that most of you do the same. There are also water bottles designed specifically for dogs, with a top that the dogs can drink from or a “bowl” attachment from which you can return the water to the bottle if the dog doesn’t drink it all. Choose whichever style you prefer so that you are able to give “our” dogs a drink when they are out in the heat and feeling it. Many clients prefer that the walks are a bit shorter in the heat, and you might want to ask that question on your daily diary form, or through an email, if you don’t already know their preference.Thanks, and let’s try to avoid any dogs suffering from heat stroke! Here’s a link to one article on heatstroke: http://dogs.about.com/od/dogandpuppyhealth/qt/heatstroke.htm
And here’s some more really valuable information on the topic:
Signs of Heat Stroke
The following signs may indicate heat stroke in a dog:
Increased rectal temperature (over 104° requires action, over 106° is a dire emergency)
Dark red gums
Tacky or dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums)
Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up
Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
Dizziness or disorientation
What to do if you Suspect Heat Stroke
If you have even the slightest suspicion that your dog is suffering from heat stroke, you must take immediate action.
First, move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun right away.
Begin cooling your dog by placing cool, wet rags or washcloths on the body – especially the foot pads and around the head.
DO NOT use ice or very cold water! Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body’s core from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. In addition, over-cooling can cause hypothermia, introducing a host of new problems. When the body temperature reaches 103°, stop cooling.
Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog’s mouth.
Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye, so an exam is necessary (and further testing may be recommended).
Tip: recruit others to help you – ask someone to call the vet while others help you cool your dog.
Preventing Heat Stroke – There are ways you can prevent heat stroke from happening in the first place
NEVER leave your dog alone in the car on a warm day, regardless of whether the windows are open. Even if the weather outside is not extremely hot, the inside of the car acts like an oven – temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels in a matter of minutes.
Avoid vigorous exercise on warm days. When outside, opt for shady areas.
Keep fresh cool water available at all times.
Some dogs can recover fully from heat stroke if it is caught early enough. Others suffer permanent organ damage and require lifelong treatment. Sadly, many dogs do not survive heat stroke. Prevention is the key to keeping your dog safe during warmer weather.
FINAL TIP: In hot weather, always carry a water bottle and collapsible water bowl, or special dog water bottle, so that you can offer water to your dogs periodically.