Many dogs suffer from heatstroke and even die in summer! As a pet owner, we need to know how to make dogs comfortable and keep them healthy. Dogs have fur all year round. Some may have longer and thicker fur. They do not have as many sweat glands as we do. The only sweat glands that they have are on their paws. They can only pant to breathe out the excess heat.
Some dogs are more sensitive to weather than others. Dogs with short muzzle such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, Pekingnese, Lhasa Apso and Boston Terriers have smaller airways. Therefore, it is much harder for them to breathe out the heat and more likely to get heatstroke. Additionally, dogs with long and thick coat can feel the heat easily too.
Things to DO in summer to avoid heatstroke:
- Provide plenty of fresh cool water. Put the water bowl under a shade to keep cool.
- Try to keep your dog indoor during hot sunny days.
- If your dog stays outdoor, provide a bed under a shade or undercover area.
- Provide a splash pool for them to jump into it to cool down. Some dogs may need some training to jump into the splash pool.
- If your dog likes it, you can hose him/her with cool water.
- If your dog’s coat is long and thick, consider to take him/her for grooming for a full clip or brush out. Dogs such as Golden Retrievers, Samoyes, Pomeranians, Japanese Spitz and Huskies have very thick undercoats. Professional groomers can help to brush out undercoat to make the dog feel lighter and stay cool in summer. Dogs such as Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, King Charles Cavalier and Cocker Spaniels have long and thick coats. You can consider to clip their coat short during summer times.
Things NOT TO DO in summer:
- Do not leave your dog in the car. The inside of your car can heat up to over 38 degrees within minutes. Even if you open the window for your dog, the car can still heat up quicker than you can imagine. As you dog has fur, it is like wear a jumper, his/her body temperature rises quickly.
- Do not overexercise your dog on hot or/and humid days. Dogs with breathing problems, overweight dogs, older dogs, dog with lung and/or heart problems are more likely to suffer heatstroke.
- Do not exercise your dog during midday as it is the hottest time of the day. The most ideal time to exercise your dog would be early in the morning or around evening time.
- Do not leave your dog outdoors without adequate shade and cool water.
- Do not leave your dog outdoor unattended for too long.
Symptoms of heatstroke:
- Rapid heavy panting
- Salivation from mouth and/or nose
- Glassy eyes
- Warm, dry skin
- Rapid heartbeat
- Not willing to respond and/or obey commands.
- Gums are turning purple/blue or bright red.
If you see any of this symptoms, do not put ice or cold water to cool down the dog, as dramatically change of temperature is dangerous. Put a wet towel around their neck and groin area and take your dog to your closest veterinary hospital, immediately.