I am a member of several pet-focused groups on Facebook, and I’ve been amazed at the number of people who post they don’t have air conditioning and are worried about their pets in the heat. I know I’ve been blessed, and I don’t think I could survive without my A/C when it’s as hot as it has been lately (over 90-degrees for about 10 days, here in Ohio).
The attached infographic from Dr. Belinda The Vet shows five symptoms of heatstroke. If you see your dog exhibiting these symptoms, what should you do?
Immediately move your dog into a cooler area. Preferably into air conditioning, but a good fan or even the shade from a tree will help. Place the dog in a bathtub or kiddie pool of cool water, and keep the head elevated out of the water. If you can’t get to a tub or pool, put ice packs on the dog’s head and neck. If you don’t have ice packs, frozen veggies, cold compresses or running water will do.
If the dog is conscious, allow him or her to drink as much water as desired. Adding a pinch of salt to the water will help with electrolyte balance.
Take the dog’s temperature every five minutes until it falls below 103 degrees F.
Now that you have the dog stabilized, seek immediate veterinary attention so the dog can be treated for any internal complications.
To help prevent heatstroke, make sure you limit your dog’s time outside on high heat days, especially if you live in a humid area. Remember, your dog can’t sweat like you do to cool off. Black dogs are especially vulnerable to heat problems, as are dogs who have smushed noses like Pugs.
Provide plenty of water for your dog, both inside and outside. For a cool treat, fill a bucket with water, drop in a few treats and small toys, then freeze it. Dip the whole bucket briefly into a sink full of tepid water to loosen the ice block. Place the ice block in a dish and let your dog lick or chew to find the encased treats and toys.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!