How to Rescue Your Dog from the Heat

by Jason Smith

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If the higher than normal spring temperatures are any indication of what this summer is going to be like, we’re in for a scorcher.

Yesterday, the temperature got up to 90 degrees in the Hardin County area. Today, I saw a forecast suggesting it could get up to 100!

Hot weather like this is a good reminder to take proactive steps to stay cool.

Remember a car is no place for companion animals or children. Even with the windows cracked, the magnifying effects of the glass windows creates a greenhouse effect inside the car. It’s not uncommon for the temperature inside a car to be 20 degrees or higher than the ambient temperature outside. This creates a deadly situation for children and pets.

Since most places do not allow pets inside, it’s best to leave them at home. If you’re worried that your dog has separation anxiety or destructive tendencies when unsupervised, crate training is a great way to keep them calm while you’re away. The crate serves as a den, a safe haven your dog can retreat to when it needs some down time. According to Cesar Millan, the most unnatural thing for a dog is to be left alone for hours on end. This is why the crate is your best friend. It teaches your dog how to be alone while also providing the comfort of a safe zone.

Or if the thought of leaving your pet alone still bothers you, have a pet sitter come stay with your pet while you run your errands.

Walking your dog in hot temperatures should also be avoided. The pavement can get very hot and could burn your dog’s feet. During the summer, reserve dog walking to the cool parts of the day or find other activities such as swimming to exercise your dog while keeping him cool.

If your dog has signs of heat stroke, it’s very important to get to the vet immediately. The signs of heat stroke are:

  • Elevated rectal temperature (greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Rapid pulse
  • Panting
  • Bright red mucous membranes
  • Shock

Here are some things you can do to offer first aid to a dog in heat stroke.

  • Spray or pour cool water on the dog.
  • Immerse your dog in a pool or bathtub of cool water.
  • Move the dog to shade (if outdoors) or into a cool building.
  • Use fans to direct air over the dog.

If you are cooling your dog at home, it is very important that you continue to check your dog’s temperature every five minutes. When your dog’s temperature gets down to 103 degrees, that’s the time to stop cooling efforts. By this point, the body temperature will continue to fall rapidly. If you continue cooling your dog after this point, it’s possible to send her into hypothermia. If cooling is not something you are comfortable with, it’s best to leave that to the professionals.

Heat stroke is a veterinary medical emergency that requires veterinary assistance as soon as possible. Together with your vet, you can rescue your dog from hot weather.

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3 thoughts on “How to Rescue Your Dog from the Heat

  1. Bubbles says:

    Hello Jason, good advice! Although I would like to point out to you that some dogs really like the heat. Not in a closed car, of course, but… I for instance love lying in the sun. M, my boss, wants me to get into the shade because she thinks I am too hot, but I am not. I’m from Greece, I am a sun lover! I hate the cold, though. I am going to read your post about winter later on. Thanks for caring for us dogs!

    1. petcorps says:

      Bubbles, you are absolutely right! There are some breeds of dogs that enjoy hot weather like those listed here. You’re wise to enjoy lying in the sun; nothing feels better than feeling the warmth of the sun upon your fur, I’m sure. And a dog as smart as you probably knows when you have had too much sun. If not, I think it’s best to heed your owner’s advice even if you might not agree. She’s only looking out for your overall health and welfare.

  2. Bubbles says:

    I know, Jason. Of course I immediately checked your list of sun loving breeds. I’m not among them, being a Very Special Greek Mix, but I do look a bit like the Italian Greyhound. Ancient offspring, royal roots… that’s me all right! Greetings!

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