Hot Dog Cooling Off with FanKids headed back to school last week here in Knox County, and around East Tennessee,  but summers not technically over yet, folks! That means that heat stroke is still a big danger to your dog!  I’m still seeing plenty of 90 degree days in the future forecast.

Exposing your pet to the heat can have serious and possibly deadly consequences. Why? Dogs have a hard time cooling themselves off. Their system of cooling off is not as sophisticated as ours. Dogs can only cool themselves off by panting and sweating through the pads on their feet, but that’s not equivalent to a human sweating.

Heat stroke is preventable during the sweltering summer heat if you follow some simple tips! But first, here are some of the signs of heat stroke in dogs:

  • Excessive panting
  • Bright red or pale gums
  • Bright red tongue
  • Depression
  • Temperature of 104+ degrees
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Excessive thirst
  • Glazed over eyes
  • Seizures
  • Thick saliva
  • Increased pulse or heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Fizziness

Instead of taking the chance of these scary symptoms happening to your dog, follow these tips.

Tips to Help Prevent Heat Stroke

  • Never leave your dog unattended in the car. The temperature can rise to deadly levels within minutes!
  • Exercise your dog in the early morning or late evening hours when it’s cooler outside. If you can, play indoor games whenever possible.(When we have dog walks scheduled mid-day during the summer, we follow several precautionary measures, including: walking shaded paths, reducing our speed, caring water, taking breaks inside, and substituting indoor play for part of the time in extreme temperatures)
  • Provide your dog with plenty of water AND shade whenever he’s in the backyard.Happy Dog in Pool
  • Many dog houses actually retain heat so your dog needs other areas of refuge besides his dog house.
  • When your dog is outside, allow him time to play water games. Spray him with a hose or provide him access to a kiddie pool so he can regulate his own body temperature in the cool water.
  • Your dog’s fur is like insulation so don’t completely shave him in the summer! He should have at least an inch of hair to insulate him and prevent sunburn.
  • Never muzzle your dog when he’s out in the heat, and short nosed dogs like pugs should never be muzzled at all!
  • Senior dogs, obese dogs and dogs with any other ailments are at an increased risk of being affected by the heat, so keep them inside where it’s cool whenever possible.

What if it’s already gotten to the point that you are noticing several of the symptoms in your pet, and you suspect heat stroke? During normal office hours, please call your vet to determine the next steps.  If it’s after hours or the weekend, we recommend the following after hours vet office:

Animal Emergency Critical Care and Referral Center
10213 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922; 865.693.4440

photo credits: The Dog Days of Summer! via photopin (license)Banjo cooling off via photopin (license)