Summer is a great time to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors with your furry best friend. However, with the warmer temperatures, it's important to take extra precautions to ensure your dog stays safe and healthy. In Texas, where temperatures can soar high, it's crucial to be aware of the signs of heat stroke in dogs and take appropriate measures to prevent it.
Heat stroke in dogs occurs when their body temperature rises above 105F due to exposure to excessive temperatures in the environment. Dogs have different ways of cooling themselves, and panting is one of the most effective ways. However, brachycephalic dogs, such as pugs or boxers, have a harder time panting and can overheat quickly with minimal exercise. Even fit dogs can overheat when exercising in the middle of the day in July, as their panting ability cannot overcome the high temperatures in Texas.
Aside from exercising, leaving dogs in cars during summer is also dangerous. The inside of a car can get up to 40 degrees hotter than the outside temperature, even with the windows partly down. This can lead to heat stroke and even death in dogs, which is why it's crucial to avoid leaving pets in cars or out in the sun without shade.
Signs of heat stroke in dogs can vary from mild to severe, such as restlessness, excessive drooling, unsteady gait, bright red/purple gums, and seizures. If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, it's crucial to cool them down and take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Organ damage can occur if the body temperature stays too high, and even if the temperature returns to normal, severe organ damage may have already occurred.
To prevent heat stroke, it's best to exercise dogs in the early morning when it's cooler, bring water for your pet, and avoid exercising brachycephalic dogs. Additionally, you can provide shade for your pet when outside, offer cool water to drink, take them inside in an air-conditioned building and/or park them in front of a fan. By being cautious and taking the necessary precautions, you and your furry best friend can safely enjoy the summer.