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Hot Summer Dog Tips: Avoiding Heat Exhaustion and Strokes

dog drinking water from bottle

Every summer, many dogs suffer from heat stroke (Hyperthermia) or heat exhaustion.  Heat stroke can be deadly, but this can usually be prevented by taking some practical steps to protect your pet. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to canine heat stroke, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how long Fido has been left out in the heat.

Signs Of Heat Exhaustion In Your Dog

Heat exhaustion is a precursor to heat stroke, so you need to be able to recognize the early warning signs. Vomiting, diarrhea, heavy panting, and inner ear redness are signs you need to get your dog out of the sun and somewhere cool, like a basement or an air-conditioned room.

How To Prevent Heat Strokes

Don't put them in a bath of cold water as this could exacerbate the situation. Instead, give them plenty of water to drink and put some cool, not cold, water over their coat and let them cool slowly.

Leaving Your Dog In The Car

The number one cause of heat stroke or heat exhaustion is being left alone in a car.  This is much more serious than people realize, as a car parked in 85-degree heat can reach an inside temperature of 120 in just 20 minutes. Moreover, leaving the window cracked doesn't do anything to change that. When you think you're only going to be 2 minutes, think of the dog, because that 2 minutes can quickly turn into 20 minutes, and your dog could die in that time. 

Set a timer on your phone to make sure you don’t leave your pet for an extended period, crack a window and leave the car running with the air conditioning on if possible.

Going Outside In The Sun

On hot summer days, it may be best to keep your dog inside, taking him out to use the bathroom.  Dogs only have panting to help cool them which is not enough on those hot and humid days.  It’s better to take walks early in the morning or late evening when it's cooler. If you have to be outside during the heat of the day, be sure there is plenty of water to drink and that it’s not tipped over. A child's wading pool is the ideal way to make sure there’s always something to drink. If you are traveling or going for outdoor walks, then travel water bowls are the perfect choice! Confine your dog to the shade if you can.

Keep A Close Eye On Your Pup

Finally, be aware of your dog’s habits and keep an eye out for any changes in behavior during those hot summer days. Heavy panting and lethargy are early signs that are easy to spot.  Certain breeds are quicker to suffer than others in the heat, especially ones that already have breathing problems, like pugs and bulldogs. Remember, if it's too hot for you it's probably too hot for your dog. Be mindful and keep your dog cool, because a visit to the vet for heat-stroke can be more expensive than you think.

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