|Dogs can overheat quickly in the sun|
Hayley and Django were really huffing and puffing one particularly hot day last summer. Just going out in the yard to do their business caused them to come back in the house looking like they just braved the Sahara. Here in New York, we’ve had a few heatwaves this summer with temperatures feeling about 100 degrees. While my kids relaxed in the pool, our dogs tried their best to stay cool.
When we were out in the yard, Django felt the need (as she always does) to stay with us, even though our living room was air-conditioned. Hayley, older and wiser, did what she had to do outside and quite happily retreated to the cooled-off room with the A/C. I sprinkled Django a little with the hose but she still seemed pretty hot and was panting quite a bit, so I went inside with her after a little while. The truth is that I wanted to go inside, too.
When temps get this high, it’s vital for dog owners to keep a watchful eye on their pups because dogs can become overheated quite fast. Unlike us, panting is their only way to cool off and it’s a pretty inefficient system at that.
Dogs with smushed up faces, likes pugs and bulldogs, need even more vigilance during the heat and should be kept in air conditioning. The same goes for older and overweight dogs.
Signs of overheating in dogs
How can you tell if your dog is overheated? Look for these signs:
- Heavy, rapid panting
- Glassy-eyed expression
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Bright red or blue/purple gums
- Vomiting or diarrhea
What to do
Owners need to act quickly if they think their dog may be in distress from the heat. Take the dog immediately to the shade, offer a bowl of water to drink, and put cool, not ice cold, water on them, especially their belly area. Very cold water will constrict the blood vessels and actually trap heat. If you can take your dog’s rectal temperature, do so and report the findings to your vet. A normal temperature is about 101.5 or so. A reading of 105 is life-threatening. When in doubt, always take your dog to a vet.
It goes without saying that you should never, ever leave your dog in a car, even for a short time. Even when temperatures are what you might consider mild, cars can heat up fast and reach dangerous temperatures in a short amount of time.
Make sure there is a shaded area for your dog to stay in when outside and always leave plenty of fresh water available. But really, I’m a firm believer that dogs should live inside — not out — ever, and especially when it’s too hot or too cold.
Dogs deserve to be inside with you in front of an air conditioner or fan on hot summer days. Remember, if you’re hot, they are, too!