The heat is finally upon us again. As an EMT I know, too well, that heat exposure is a dangerous thing. This isn’t just true for us as humans, but also for our canine companions.
First, we must be able to identify signs of overheating and dehydration in our dogs. Keep in mind for each of the symptoms, you should ask yourself, ‘Is this normal for my dog?’ (For example, if your dog normally drools excessively and pants, then on a hot day when he’s doing that, he’s probably okay)
Signs of over heating
Excessive Panting & Drooling
Again, if your dog is a typical drooler and pants often, then you need to keep that in mind while assessing the situation. Normal breathing rate in dogs is 10 – 30 breaths per minute, but that’s when in a resting state. My dogs exceed that regularly after normal exercise.
For a full list of vital signs your can go to: http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/clinsci/wing/firstaid/vital.htm
Is your dog suddenly more lethargic than normal? Is she refusing to walk any further? This is a sign of heat stroke and should not be taken lightly. Slow down, find some shade and treat accordingly.
As your dog dehydrates, you may notice his eyes becoming bloodshot.
Red or Pale Skin (around the gums)
Skin CTC (Color, Temperature, & Condition) is one of the first signs I check when arriving on a 9-1-1 medical call. The same is true when monitoring your pup. Is her skin now very pale or red around the gums? This , too, could be a sign of heat exposure.
Take note of these signs and symptoms and make an informed diagnosis. Is your dog showing signs of over heating? Then take action.
How to Address Overheating:
Cool from Underneath
Putting a cool/wet rag on the bottom side of your dog (Stomach area), is much more effective then putting it over top of their furry backside.
Find a Source of Water
Swimming is not only a very fast way for your dog to cool down, but it’s a lot of fun for both of you. My dog Molly loves a swim on a warm day, and even Maggie, my hydrophobic beagle, will get into the water up to her back in the right circumstances. Large sources of water are a lot of fun! Take your dog to a nearby lake or stream and see if they like the water. Or, head over to the dog beach in Manasquan!
Stay in the Shade
If you are out and unable to come inside to AC or find a nearby source of water, then step into the shade and allow your dog to cool down and rest.
So, remember to stay cool this spring and summer. Your dogs will thank you!