Heatstroke is one of the most life-threatening conditions that your dog can face. Dogs are not very efficient at cooling down their bodies when compared to other animals, which many people do not realize. The trouble with heatstroke is that by the time symptoms are obvious, your dog might be in real danger of collapse or even death.
Knowing how to prevent heatstroke and how to protect your dog from it is critical for your dog’s well-being. This is essential knowledge for those who live in hot areas or people who like to take their dog with them hiking, running, or even camping. Making sure that your dog does not get heatstroke is critical, and the more informed that you are about this potential risk, the less likely your dog will be to suffer a major health event.
If you are ready to learn more about how to protect your dog from heatstroke, keep reading.
1. Be Aware of the Ambient Temperature
One of the best ways to protect your dog from heatstroke is to be aware of the temperature and humidity. While you might not feel like it is that hot, when it is more than 80 degrees or when the humidity is very high, your dog might not be able to cool off effectively. Humans can sweat all over their body to cool off, but a dog only has the pads of their feet and panting to cool off. When the air temperature is too hot, your dog might be unable to cool down even in the shade.
Many people expose their dogs to heatstroke by accident because they are not aware of the actual temperature outdoors. Keeping your dog indoors or in a cool area when it is hotter than 80 degrees is a critical part of protecting your pet from heatstroke. Being aware of the temperature can make all the difference in protecting your dog from this serious health concern, and you will need to get in the habit of looking at the temperature often.
2. Avoid Exertion When it is Hot
While your dog might think that they want to play hard, go for a walk, or go running when it is very hot out, they should not be allowed to engage in exertion when the weather is very hot. You can prevent your dog from overexerting when the weather is hot by making sure to exercise them when the weather is more favorable, earlier, or later in the day. You need to limit your dog’s exertion to times that are safe when the weather is not ideal for play or exercise.
When dogs exert by choice in the heat of the day, they can also expose themselves to heatstroke risk. Some dogs might need to be kept inside during the heat of the day if they are extremely energetic.
3. Offer Plenty of Clean Water
The main way that dogs can keep their body cool is by drinking water. Preventing dehydration is critical to your dog’s well-being when the weather is hot, so be sure that your dog has access to plenty of clean water. Many owners forget to bring water with them when they take their dogs on hikes, runs, or walks. Being able to deliver water to your dog whenever they need it is critical to their well-being.
You might also need to bring a collapsible bowl with you to provide water to your dog when you are away from home. Dogs cannot drink effectively from a bottle or a cup and having a bowl can make all the difference in their ability to hydrate. Dogs need access to water whenever they want it to be sure that they do not become dehydrated and then get heatstroke.
4. Avoid the Sun
Avoiding the sun means that you need to provide your dog shade even when camping, when in the backyard, or when out driving around in the car. Dogs can become quite overheated just because they are in the direct sun, and due to their inability to sweat all over their body, the heat of the sun can cause them to get so warm that they end up with heatstroke.
Dogs that need to be left outdoors in the heat of the day must have access to shade and to water at all times to avoid heatstroke. Make sure that you are not forcing your dog to be outside in the direct sun and the heat for many hours out of the day to protect them from heatstroke risk. This is most common in areas that have many months of sun each year, but even in a location that is not normally hot, your dog might be exposed to risk on a sunny day if it can’t get into the shade.
Protecting Your Dog from Heat Stroke is Important
Heatstroke in dogs can be deadly. Dogs that are showing signs of heatstroke need to get help from a veterinarian right away. You typically have about a half hour to save your dog from death when they are showing signs of heatstroke. Knowing how to avoid this deadly condition is critical, and all dog owners should be aware of this condition and how to protect their dogs from it.
Providing clean water, shade, and protection from exertion during the heat of the day is important for any dog, no matter what age or what breed. Being sure that your dog is not being exposed to unnecessary risk is easy if you start paying attention to the ambient temperature and to the angle of the sun, and the heat of the day when exercising and caring for your pet. Avoiding a dangerous health condition like heatstroke is often much simpler than people realize and being well educated about this condition can save your dog’s life.
Country Club Animal Hospital is here for all your dog’s health needs. To book an appointment give us a call at (305) 663-3300 or use the online form!