Now that summer seems to be in full swing, you need to make sure to keep your dog hydrated. Heatstroke is a very real danger for dogs in the summer. Here are 6 signs of heat stroke that you should look out for.
1) Panting/Difficulty Breathing
Dogs pant in order to cool themselves down, but replacing hot air from their lungs with cooler external air. If a dog is panting rapidly, it could mean they are overheating. Dog breeds with short, or flat noses are more likely to have trouble with breathing, and as a result are more susceptible to heat stroke. Heavy panting can put a lot of stress on the bodies of older dogs, or dogs who already have preexisting conditions that lead to trouble with breathing. Excessive panting can also lead to excess salivation. Drooling like this can lead an already overheated dog to become further dehydrated as it loses water. Look out for saliva that is sticky or thicker than normal, because this is a sign that your dog is dehydrated.
2) Increased Heart rate
When a dog is overheated, the dog’s body works to pump blood away from vital organs into the dog’s limbs and other extremities. This is your dog’s built in defense mechanism against heat stroke.This process will cause the dog’s heart rate to increase. If you think your dog might have an abnormally fast heart beat, you can check your dog’s pulse by placing your hand on their chest and counting for 15 seconds. See how many pulses you can feel during the fifteen seconds, and then multiply that resulting number by a count of 4. A normal heart rate for dogs is going to fall between 60-140 beats per minute.
A dog with a dry, hot nose as opposed to a cool, wet nose could be overheated. If your dog’s body temp reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit then your dog technically has a fever. This is especially dangerous for your dog because coma, organ failure, and death can occur at 107 degrees Fahrenheit. You should purchase a thermometer and take the dog’s temperature rectally - which is the most accurate method - or by using an ear thermometer specially made for dogs to get the temperature that way.
4.) Mental Distress/Confusion/Disorientation
If your dog is acting strangely, that is- drunkenly staggering around and bumping into furniture repeatedly - they could be suffering from heatstroke. As a dog’s body temperature rises past 105 degrees, their organs begin to degenerate. This kind of degeneration in a dog’s brain can lead to aggressive behavior due to confusion, as well as spatial disorientation.
When dogs are too hot, they tend to lay around more than you are used to and they may not show much interest in food. Make sure to play close attention if you notice this kind of behavior as it could be an indicator that your dog is overheated and needs to cool down.
6.) Diarrhea/ Vomiting/ Inability to Urinate.
If you notice any vomiting, or diarrhea, particularly with blood present in the vomit or feces then you should take your dog to the vet. This is also a sign of heat stroke. When dog’s bodies become overly dehydrated, they may also have trouble urinating, as they do not have enough water in their bodies. If you notice this, you should get your dog somewhere cool, and get them fresh water so that they may begin to replenish lost fluids and cool down before something bad happens. It is also a good idea to contact your vet because at this point, your dog’s body is in advanced stages of overheating.
Now, you may be asking yourself “How can I make sure that I keep my dog cool so this doesn’t happen?” Keep Doggie Safe offers a whole slew of products that will do just that. Maybe you’re in the market for a pressure activated cooling mat for your dog to lay on. KDS has just the thing. Try the Cool Pet Pad from the Green Pet Shop. It’s a reusable, non-toxic dog pad that recharges instantly, so that means you never even have to put it in the refrigerator to get it nice and cool for your good boy or girl. Green Pet Shop also makes a cover for the pad to protect it from scratches and punctures, but this is just extra protection because the pad itself is already very sturdy and durable. The best part about the pad is that there’s no water or liquid of any kind inside of it so there’s never going to be a mess to clean up because the thing leaked. Instead it utilizes a special gel that gets cold when your dog lays on it... pretty cool, huh?
If you and your dog are more active individuals, you might look into acquiring a cooling vest for them to wear while the two of you are out and about. Whether you are on a leisurely hike in the forest, or getting your exercise in with a jog around the city there are many options of vests for your dog to wear but we like the offerings from two specific brands the best. Those are the Dog Core Cooling vest from Kurgo, and Ultra Paws Ultra Cool Tee. Functionally they are both pretty much the same. They are designed to cool the dog’s chest area and vital internal organs. Both are cooling vests/shirts that you simply soak in water to use. Wring out the excess and then put it on your dog to cool them down for hours.
Lastly, but certainly not least, you have to remember to keep your dog hydrated on hot summer days, right? It’s a good idea to always have a water bowl ready to go that you can place down for the dog. It’s hard to carry bowls for water all the time, but thankfully there are a few products that make it much more simple. First, you can always just get a fold up water bowl that pops up when you need it and goes away when you don’t. Cool Pup makes a great option for this kind of thing.
You should be plenty prepared to fight heatstroke now. Make sure to keep your dog nice and cool, and give them plenty of water to drink, and you really don’t have anything to worry about. Investing in some quality cooling products can make sure your dog’s heatstroke troubles stay far away, and give you peace of mind in the process. Make the most of your summer with your dog, and don’t let them get overheated.