How to recognize a HOT DOG and what to do about it…
Summer is winding down, but the Colorado sun is still brutal. Dogs are not as efficient at regulating their body temperature as humans are because dogs don’t sweat, they pant to release heat from their body. Certain breeds, like Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs are especially vulnerable to the heat due to their inability to “pant out” heat efficiently. Also be careful with very old, or very young dogs, and those with long, thick coats. Those with medical problems or that are overweight can also experience overheating more quickly than other dogs.
Heat exhaustion is nothing to be “cool” about. It can lead to potentially fatal results like organs shutting down or the heart stopping completely.
Even though fall is right around the corner, don’t be fooled, it’s still hot enough to cause your best buddy distress under certain circumstances. Here are some ways to tell if your dog is heat stressed:
- Excessive or Loud Panting
- Pale or Dry Gums
- Bright Red Tongue
- Extreme Thirst
- Drooling and/or Thick Saliva
- Frequently Lies Down or Stops to Rest
- Increased Heart Rate and Deep and Rapid breathing
- Dizziness or lack of coordination
At the first sign of overheating, immediately take action and move your dog to a cooler area. If you’re outside, try to find shade or take your dog into a cool building. If inside, try placing them in front of a fan or on a damp, cool towel or blanket. Lightly wetting ears and paw pads may also help. And remember, a little cool (not COLD) water goes a long way to prevent – and help – with overheating. If your canine won’t drink, wet their tongue…but under no circumstances should you feed them ice cubes!
Hunting, hiking and extremely long walks can cause a dog special problems in the fall. Try to limit these activities to cooler times during the day when the hot, low, autumn sun is not beating down.
While most dog lovers know how to recognize and respond to overheating, the best course of action is to PREVENT it!