As the temperatures rise, we need to be aware of the effects of hot weather on our pets.
This means they need to stay hydrated, to have water available to evaporate for cooling.
Have clean water available at all times!
Watch your dog for signs of dehydration:
- These easiest way to check hydration is to run your finger over the gum above an upper canine tooth (fang) – a normal gum is slippery. If your finger sticks, the gum is “tacky” and the dog is getting dehydrated.
- At the next stage of dehydration, the skin loses its elasticity. Pinch up some skin over the base of the neck:
- With normal hydration, the skin rebounds right back to its normal shape.
- At moderate dehydration, the skin pinch unfolds itself slowly enough for you to watch.
- At severe dehydration, the pinch fails to go down at all and stays up like a “tent” in the skin.
If the dog is too warm, they may pant non-stop, and seek cool places and surfaces, and water to drink or lay in.
Dogs are warmer than people – a normal rectal temperature is from 38.5-39.5 degrees C (101-103 F).
At a temperature of about 41 degrees C (106 F), a dog is getting heat stroke. He may have vomiting and diarrhea, he may start to collapse, and breathing may become very difficult.
At the most severe level of heat stroke, the blood vessel walls start to break down. This can lead to bloody diarrhea, central nervous system problems such as collapse and seizures, and breathing problems due to fluid or blood leaking into the lungs.
Short-faced dogs (pugs, bulldogs), and overweight dogs, are more likely to develop heatstroke.
And, this can not be said enough times:
No Dogs Left in Hot Cars!! Cars heat up MUCH faster than you might think:
If you suspect heat stroke in your dog, put cool wet towels over his body and legs and get him to the vet right away!