The warmer weather is finally coming back upon us, and we’ll soon be spending more time outside. It’s at this time of year when we’re also a little more prone to want to bring our pets with us when we go out to run errands or shop–but leaving a companion animal in a hot car is a good recipe for heatstroke. We like to think that most pet owners are careful about that, but hot cars are just one of the several summer hazards for pets–particularly dogs.
See Also Keeping Your Dog Cool This Summer
What is Heatstroke In Dogs?
Yes, dogs and cats can get heatstroke. Heatstroke (or hyperthermia) happens when an animal, particularly a dog, overheats. Body temperatures of 102°F and greater usually bring with them the onset of heatstroke. It is most common during the height of the summer months when the weather is consistently warm or hot.
If your dog has a short snout, like a pug or a bulldog, he is more predisposed to heatstroke than other breeds. This means that even if you’re outdoors enjoying the weather you need to keep an eye on Rover. It can be a scary thing for you and your pooch, but catch it quickly, and you can help him recover quickly.
Symptoms of Heatstroke in Dogs
Knowing the signs of heatstroke and being observant of your pet while outside is critical. Signs of heatstroke include, collapsing or fainting, uncontrolled diarrhea or vomiting, excessive panting, an increased heart rate that you can feel just by touch or profuse salivation.
If you see any of these things, get your dog to drink some water and get him somewhere cool immediately. Cover him with cool, wet towels and aim a fan at him. Take his temperature and make sure it stays below 104°F. After any incident of heatstroke, your dog (or any pet) should see their vet as soon as possible.
How Do You Prevent Heat Stroke In Dogs?
You should never keep a dog that is predisposed to heat stroke in a hot car, not even for a few minutes (it isn’t a good idea for other breeds either). On a day where the outside temperature is 90°F, the temperature inside the car will rise to 120° within about five minutes, and a scorching 160°F within about 20 minutes, whether you “crack the windows” or not. If that’s too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for a dog. Be responsible and leave him home.
If you and your dog are going to be outside for long periods, make sure water is always available and that there is somewhere he can take shelter from direct sunlight. A doghouse in a shady spot is ideal. You can also provide a picnic table or canopy that the dog can slip under to cool off. Never douse an overheated dog with cold water; it could send him into shock. However, an occasional spritz from a spray bottle full of ice water will be very much appreciated, and help regulate his body temperature.