Keep your dog safe from overheating.
If you’re a new dog parent you probably don’t know yet what is the best for your four-legged friend, or your dog is getting older and his ability to withstand the heat is drastically decreasing.
No matter what’s the situation you always need to try and keep your dog happy and healthy.
When the hot summer starts you have to be ready for what might come next.
Ask any veterinarian, what is the main problem in the summer when it comes to dogs. I can assure you that they will say it’s overheating. In order to save your dog, you need to know a few tips to keep your dog healthy and live a longer life.
What are the signs of a dog overheating?
If you see one of these signs in your dog – immediately cool the dog’s body.
- The dog is panting and restless;
- Severe salivation;
- Gums are bright red;
- increased heart rate;
- Fever, body temperature up to 40.6C/105F
If you can’t see these signs of overheating in your dog, it can mean two things: the first one is that he’s not overheating, and it’s all good, but the other one is that your dog can have a more seriously overheating.
In which case you have to cool your dog ASAP and run to your nearest veterinarian.
Here are the signs of serious overheating:
- Pale gums;
If you won’t react quickly to your dog overheating, he might end up in a coma and then stop breathing.
! The dog’s body temperature can rise sharply and, if not lower in time, can lead to death!
What to do when your dog is overheating?
- Be sure to get your dog out of the sun and to a much cooler place. When the dog is overheated, he might be confused and lose the sense of direction. So, you might have to help him navigate, as he’s not capable of doing that himself.
- If you have a bath or a dog pool, you can put him in there. But be careful. Under no conditions, don’t leave your dog alone in there, as he can drown or choke with the water when not supervised. Use cold water to cool him down, but not ice-cold water. Let the water drip on your dog’s neck and head, if possible;
- Another great way how to cool down your dog when he’s overheated is to sprinkle him with a garden hose, or if you have a pond in your garden, you can cool him down in there (but with strict supervision);
- Use frozen vegetables to put on your dog’s head and neck to cool down his brain;
- Give your dog as much water as he wants, you can even put a pinch of salt in the water to compensate for salt loss when panting;
- Measure the temperature every 5 minutes. Keep your dog in the cold water or on the cold surface as long as the temperature goes below the 39.4C/103F (the perfect temperature would be 37.8C/100F);
- To avoid shock, you can massage your dog’s legs to improve blood circulation.
How to prevent a dog from overheating?
- If your dog is inside, be sure the room is well ventilated, so the cold air can get in and the hot one can get out;
- If your dog is outside, be sure he can hide in the shadows.
- Fresh, cold water to drink all day long;
- Don’t leave your dog in the car when it’s hot outside;
- Be sure the brachiocephalic breeds, like French bulldogs and pugs, and old dogs spend most of their day in a cool room and that they have enough drinking water;
- If you’re traveling with your dog, make more stops than usual to let your dog outside of the car and to get some fresh water;
- When the weather is hot outside plan your dog walks early in the morning and late in the evening, that way you can avoid the hot sun.
Pet products that help to protect your dog in the summer
Cooling mat – there are different types of these mats. The gel ones that activate with the pressure, the ones that need a refrigerator, and another one that charges with electricity. I’m sure there are more of those, but these are the ones I’m familiar with.
Cooling vest – if your dog is used to going out in the middle of the day and the outside temperature is unbearable, you can use the cooling vest, so your dog gets less heat.
Lifejacket – these are helpful when you’re spending the day on the water. A lifejacket can be useful to keep your pup above the water and keeps the cool water in the jacket for a while.
Cooling bandana – this might be one of the little helpers to cool down your dog on a hot day out. If you’re planning on going somewhere, but you need your dog to be comfy and cool, these bandanas could be useful for that.
Cooling collar – these may not look as great as cooling bandanas, but they might do the job.
Why is my dog overheating?
There are several reasons, why dogs overheat.
While overheating, depends on the dog’s individual characteristics, his blood vessels can either dilate (the tongue becomes pale) or narrow down (burgundy tongue).
That means that he is not getting enough oxygen and nutrients to the needed organs and tissues.
In the first case, it happens because the diameter of the blood vessels narrows down but in the second case due to a decrease in the arterial pressure. Therefore, heart functionality is affected.
You can read more on this blog.
1. One of the main reasons for dog overheating is that dogs do not sweat as humans do. They usually sweat through their paws, which is where their sweat glands are.
The main way how they cool down is by panting or laying on a cool surface.
2. Another big role for dogs overheating is the coat. It is well known that because of their thick coats dogs tolerate the cold better than the heat.
There are several exceptions, like dogs with no fur at all. But even then, those hair-less breeds can have a severe burn, because of the sun.
3. But is dog shaving the right answer?
Dog’s coat also plays a big role in heat circulation.
Dogs have an undercoat that is thicker in the winter and thinner in the summer when the weather is hot. In the summer, the undercoat traps a layer of cool air to insulate the dog from overheating and protects the skin from sunburn.
When cutting your dog’s fur for the summer can seriously mess up the circulation system. Here you can read more about dog grooming for summer.