With record high temperatures in the Carolinas, recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion in your pet is imperative. The following are a few guidelines on the dos and don'ts for keeping your dog safe through the summer months.
- Leave your pet in a car, even with the windows cracked-the temperature inside a vehicle can rapidly rise 10 degrees every 60 seconds
- Exercise your pet in the middle of the day-the hottest time of the day can cause your pet to become overexerted more quickly than normal due to the heat
- Tether your dog in a sunny area-if you are out in the yard with your dog and have to tether, be sure there is adequate shade and plenty of water available
- Fail to seek veterinary attention if your dog is exhibiting signs of heat stroke
- Leave your dog unattended, outdoors, for long lengths of time
- Apply sunscreen to dogs with short coats, light skin color, and light coat color. Be sure to cover the ears and top of the muzzle with a pet-friendly sunscreen or baby sunscreen such as Aveeno, Burt’s Bees, or Neutrogena Baby
- Let your dog take a dip-baby pools or swimming opportunities are a great means to keeping your dog cooled off in the heat while providing a fun activity
- Run/walk your dogs in the early morning before temperatures rise, or in the late evening after the temperatures have fallen
- Be extra vigilant with brachycephalic dogs, (breeds such as pugs, English Bulldogs, and Japanese Chin) as these dogs have a different upper respiratory anatomy and can encounter breathing problems faster than longer muzzled dogs.
- Seek veterinary care immediately if your dog is exhibiting signs of heat stroke.
Signs that your dog may be having heat stroke:
- Excessive panting
- Tongue appears to extend from the mouth much longer that usual during panting
- High fever, (a normal temperature in a dog ranges from 99.9 to 102.5)
- Low response or no response to verbal commands
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid heart rate
- Muscle tremors
If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms:
- Immediately seek medical attention for your dog
- Cool the pet with a cool, (not cold or icy) water bath or place a cool water soaked towel on the dog for a few minutes during transport to the hospital
- Do not try to force your dog to drink water or put water in your dog’s mouth