Protect Your Pooch from Heatstroke
Your pets are just as vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heat stroke as their humans. You sweat to keep yourself from overheating. Here’s how to be sure your four-legged friends keep their cool too.
How Your Pets Sweat
Dogs and other pets don’t sweat through their skin and fur. Their sweat glands are located in their foot pads.
- They cool themselves through their paws, but these few sweat glands are not significant enough to regulate their body temperature alone.
- Their primary method of cooling is by panting rapidly through their noses and mouths. So be sure you don’t muzzle your dog! They need to freely pant.
Protect Their Paws
- It’s especially important to protect their paws, so avoid walking your dog on dangerously hot surfaces like sand (at the beach), concrete, asphalt, or artificial turf as they can severely burn their foot pads.
- Before taking your dog for a walk, place your hand or bare foot on the walking surface for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your pet and can burn his paws! Opt for cool grass or shady areas.
Warning Signs of Overheating
Fortunately, it’s not very difficult to see signs of overheating in dogs. Watch for the subtle, early signs of heat stroke include:
- Excessive panting or drooling
- Less responsive to usual commands
- May wander away instead of turning to respond when you call his name
Signs of Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke
A dangerously overheated dog may exhibit the following signs:
- Collapsing or convulsions
- Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
- Red or pale gums
- Bright red tongue
- Glazed eyes
- Rapid heart rate
- Lack of coordination (wobbly or drunken gait)
- Fever (usually 103 and 106 degrees Fahrenheit and higher)
- Loss of consciousness (cannot be awakened)
- Small amounts of or no urine
*Heat stroke can progress to organ failure, seizures, coma, cardiac arrest, and death.