Having fun in the summer sun is something many of us look forward to every year in Aurora and Newmarket! Spending time outside with your family, friends, and four-legged friends can certainly help create fantastic summer memories. Some of us love when the temperatures reach the high 30s, but the same can’t be said for our furry friends. It can be harder for our dogs to regulate their body temperatures and could result in heat exhaustion if we don’t watch for the signs.
This blog will outline what heat exhaustion is, how to spot it if it happens, and most importantly, prevent it!
What is heat exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body overheats and is unable to cool down. Heat exhaustion mainly occurs when performing strenuous activities in hot weather. As humans, we can sweat, which is the body’s natural response to being too hot. Sweating helps us cool down and keep our overall body temperature near normal. Dogs, however, and not so lucky. Since they do not have sweat glands, they keep themselves cool by panting. While panting is normal to an extent, excessive panting is a cause for concern. Keeping your dog in extreme heat can lead them towards heatstroke if they cannot have access to cool water promptly.
What Are the Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs?
As mentioned above, excessive panting is the first sign that your dog is too hot. You should know your dog well enough to know what level of panting is considered normal for them. If you notice that your dog has difficulty breathing or breathing faster than usual, it’s time to get them out of the heat.
Excessive drooling is another common symptom of heat exhaustion in dogs. Drool that is thicker and stickier than usual is something to watch out for.
In more severe cases, the colour of your dogs’ gums and tongue might change to a bright red, gray, purple, or bluish colour. That is a telltale sign that they are dehydrated and need water as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion in Dogs
It’s best to plan ahead on those days that you know are going to be hot really. Typically the best times to walk your dog on those humid days are dusk and dawn when the sun is not at its peak. If you have to bring your dog out during the day, try to keep your trip short. Don’t forget to pack water for yourself and your dog to stay hydrated.
If you have fans, an air conditioner, or both, have them ready to cool the house down by the time you get back from your walk. Don’t forget to provide plenty of fresh, cold water for your dog to drink when you return.
If your dog needs some extra help cooling down, you can look into getting them a cooling mat to lay on during those extra hot summer days.
If you notice your dogs’ symptoms are not getting any better, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
As dog owners, we always want what’s best for our pups. Summer can be a lot of fun for your and your pets. All it takes is a bit of extra attention and care. Another thing to be mindful of are dogs that fall into the brachycephalic breed category. These dogs have shorter snouts, which results in narrow and shorter airways. Since they have to work a bit harder to breathe, they are more susceptible to heat exhaustion. If possible, exercise your dog inside, and keep them in the shade as much as possible when taking them out.
If you need help walking your dog during the summer, contact York Professional Pet Sitting to see how we can help you during the dog days of summer!
Morag is the owner and founder of York Regions most trusted premier in-home pet care and dog walking companies. In 2000 she saw a need for an alternative to kennels, catteries for family pets in the area and has always believed that pets are much happier and less stressed staying in their own familiar environment. Morag and her team are all certified in Pet 1st Aid and CPR, she also offers continuous training to her team members through online and hands on pet care and pet behaviour and care courses. Morag has earned her certificate in Professional Pet Sitting, Professional Dog Walking and Canine Attendant training. She has lived in the Newmarket/Aurora area since 1991 is a wife, a mother of 2 adult children and a grandmother of 2 delightful little balls of energy. She has also been owned by fish, birds, mice, rats, cats, dogs, gerbils and guinea pigs and is an advocate for all living creatures. In her spare time she likes to be involved in her community and events travelling, reading and cooking.