As temperatures rise, it’s important to remember that our pets don’t have the same ability to put on shorts and a tank top when the going gets hot as we do. Our dogs can overheat quickly in warm temperatures, and heat stroke can be fatal.
Holistic veterinarian Dr. Kathy Wentworth, who owns PetPoint Medical Center & Resort in Irvine, says heat stroke symptoms will typically begin with excessive panting as dogs attempt to cool themselves down.
They can have difficulty breathing, bright red gums, foaming and salivating of the mouth and even nosebleeds. As symptoms worsen, they can suffer vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures and cardiac arrest. A dog’s normal body temperature ranges between 100 and 102.5 Fahrenheit. Moderate heat stroke can occur between 104 and 106, and above that, “then you’re in trouble,” Wentworth says.
Here are some tips for keeping pets cool in warm temperatures:
Know your dog. Big, heavy and dark-coated dogs can get hotter quicker than light, white dogs. Wentworth says dogs like bulldogs and boxers with flatter faces, which can restrict breathing, and that have large mass have trouble cooling down. “I have seen a bulldog who had a nosebleed because he was just so overheated,” she says.
Pay attention to temperature. Don’t think that just because you’re indoors, your dog can’t get hot. Keep your dog indoors with fans running or the air conditioning going on hot days and always find shade for your dog when he goes out.
Orange County-based Certified Professional Dog Trainer Kate Connell generally recommends keeping your thermostat at 78 and run fans as necessary to keep pets cool. “Dogs who stay in air conditioning all day are more likely to get heat stroke when out on a hot day because their bodies aren’t used to the heat,” Connell says.
Don’t overdo exercise. Keep exercise on the less intense side on warm days. After any walk or hike, give your dog a place to cool off afterward, and take whatever breaks are…