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Heatstroke and Dogs – Tips for Summer

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It’s still pretty hot out there if you live in Southern California (and I’m sure across the rest of the country)  I know it’s the end of the summer and summer tips usually come at the beginning.  However, I came across a sad article recently that made me want to write about the dangers of heatstroke and dogs.  We did cover summer tips for you and your dog a few months ago at our guide dog meeting.  Anyhow I wanted to share some information that might come in handy during these final days of summer.

Heatstroke and Dogs

First of all, you might already know that dogs have inefficient cooling systems.  Dogs don’t sweat the same way you and I do.  Dogs pant to regulate their body temperature.  Be very careful with your dog because they can’t protect themselves against extreme heat.

The sad article I told you about had to do with a K9 who died from heat exhaustion.

The Carrollton Police Department’s only K9 officer, “Rudy,” died after suffering heat exhaustion in the back of a patrol unit.

Unfortunately, Rudy was left in the car with the engine and air conditioning running while his partner went to a meeting.  When Rudy’s partner returned the car was no longer running and Rudy was found with a shallow pulse and was later pronounced dead by the vet.  Check out the full article on K9 Officer Rudy.

If you plan on taking your dog for a car ride be very careful if you leave him in the car for any extended period of time.  The temperature in your car can rise in a hurry.

Signs That Your Dog May Be Suffering Heatstroke

  • Rapid Panting
  • Bright Red Tongue
  • Red or Pale Gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting – sometimes blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock
  • Coma

Things You Can Do For A Dog With Heatstroke

  • Remove your dog from the hot area
  • Before taking him to the vet lower his body temperature by wetting him with cool water and pointing a fan at him – Don’t use extremely cold water
  • Don’t let his body temperature get too low
  • Check rectal temperature every 5 minutes once temperature is 103 degrees stop cooling your dog.
  • Dry your dog and cover him so he doesn’t lose too much temperature.
  • Even if your dog looks to be recovering take him to the vet for a checkup.

For more information on how to treat heatstroke and heat exhaustion check out these articles:

Why Do Dogs Pant?


How about you?  Is there anything special you do to keep your dog cool?

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