The sun is shining brightly outside on a beautiful Saturday morning here in Brevard County, Florida. You have the day off from work and decide that a long trail hike seems like an awesome idea with your beloved Fido. Most good intentions are just that, good intentions. However, as the temperatures rise outside, it is very important to understand the warning signs of heatstroke in your dog.
Dogs do not sweat as humans do, so it is very important to watch for signs, and to leave your house prepared, should the heat become unbearable to your pet. Some common signs that your dog has overheated include excessive panting, drooling, reddened gums, listlessness, or a rapid heartbeat. It is agreed upon that your dog’s temperature reaches the danger zone around 103 degrees Fahrenheit and higher.
Heatstroke can be very serious to your pet. These high temperatures can lead to organ shut down and the heart can stop completely. This is not something to take lightly. Below you will find a few very easy ways to keep your pet safe while enjoying time with your fur baby, especially during the Florida summers.
Preventing Heatstroke in Your Dog: 3 Things You Can Do Today
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Dogs should have constant access to water, especially during times when they run the risk of overheating. When you are planning hikes or other physical activities outside, be sure to take water for your dog and take plenty of breaks so Fido can cool off properly. Another great way to help keep your pet’s temperature down is a mister, a small fan, or a kiddie pool!
Not only do most dogs love to splash around and play, but this is also a great way to keep their core body temperature down when the sun is scorching down on you and your pet. According to some experts, it is important to use cool or room temperature water. Using ice water seems like a logical way to quickly cool your pet. However, cooling of the core will be delayed, as the cold water causes the superficial blood vessels to constrict, which causes an insulating layer to hold the heat inside.
A cool towel on your pet’s neck is another great way to bring your fur baby’s temperature down slowly.
Do Not Leave Your Pet Unattended: In the Car or Outside
This is something that is common sense, but still a good reminder for pet owners. A car can heat up more quickly than people realize, and it does not need to be super hot outside for the temperature inside your vehicle to exceed safe temperatures.
Humane Society.org states that It can be a comfortable 72 degrees outside, but inside your vehicle, temperatures could reach up to 116 degrees within an hour! When it is 80 degrees outside, it can reach 99 degrees within 10 minutes inside your vehicle. Even with windows cracked, leaving your dog for any “short” amount of time is never a good idea.
Moreover, it is proven that even cracking the windows has little effect on the temperature inside your vehicle. It is equally important to keep an eye on your dog at the park, at a family picnic, and even in your backyard. Short spurts of time outdoors are fine, but lengthy exposures to heat can become dangerous, especially to dogs that are not used to this type of condition.
Watch For Risk Factors in Your Dog
Some dogs are acclimated to higher temperatures and can tolerate more than a dog that may not be accustomed to the same heat. However, it is still important to realize that even though your dog may be ok with the heat, you must consider the humidity, sun exposure, the activity you are engaging in, and also how much energy your dog will need to exert on your outing.
A fun splash pad or beach retreat is very different than a 10-mile hike in the blazing sun. It is also very important to consider your dog’s overall health, weight, age, and coat. Taking an elderly dog on a 5-mile run in the heat can be risky. A report was done by Scientific Reports showing that certain breeds of dogs can be more prone to heat exhaustion.
If you have a breed that is in a higher risk category, it is important to be able to quickly identify the signs of heat exhaustion.
This is a very small recap of things that could help you prevent and spot the early signs of a heat stroke in your dog. Exercise is very important, but perhaps you can modify your route, leave earlier in the morning or go in the evening when the sun is not quite so hot.
We cannot control the weather, but we can control the way we modify our activities. When you’re not available to walk your beloved pet, Space Coast Pet Services has your back. We offer dog walking, in-home pet visits, and other pet sitting services. Please contact us for more information!
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born in 2016! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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