Posted by The San Francisco Dog Walker
Dogs Can Die From Heat Stroke!
Animal experts say that it’s a common misconception that dogs can survive if the windows are cracked on a hot day, or if the car is parked in the shade. They said people often think that dogs can handle high temperatures. Wrong! In fact, even a dog walk in high heat can hurt or kill them. Dogs can get overheated much quicker than we can. Their temperature can shoot up to 104, 105 in just a matter of ten to fifteen minutes, and that can lead to a seizure. Even cracking a window a little bit, thinking they’ll be okay isn’t enough in to keep them safe. There’s not enough breeze. Dogs don’t cool down the way we do. They cool down by panting.
If you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke, get him out of the heat as soon as possible. Here are a few other things you can do:
- Put rubbing alcohol on the pads of their feet.
- Pour cool – not cold – water on them. Start with their feet, neck, and genital areas.
- Wrap them in a sheet or other cloth that’s been soaked with cool water.
- Get your dog to the vet! Even if you think your dog is OK, it’s a good idea to have him checked out.
Heatstroke or exhaustion can occur very quickly for our dogs as they only have the ability to sweat throught the pads of their feet. The major way they expel heat is through panting. The two most common ways that pets get overheated is being left in cars or kennels when it is too hot or playing or running excessively in the heat. Our canine friends are almost always up for a brisk dog walk or a game of fetch. The problem is that they do not know when they are overheated until it is too late. Thus, it is up to us as their caregivers to understand when it is time to take a break, drink some water and rest in the shade for awhile. A dog’s normal temperature runs between 101 and 102.5 degrees so they are naturally warmer than we are. When their temperature exceeds 106 degrees there is a very real danger in damaging cells in their brain and causing permanent damage or even death. Treatment for heat stroke is immediately getting the pet into a cool shady area or inside an air-conditioned building. Cooling can be continued with cool cloths or ice packs in the groin area or in the armpits. It is important not to submerge the pet in cold water as this can lead to shock.
Bottom line: Dogs can’t handle the heat as well as we can and run the risk of developing heat stroke much more quickly. Even if you leave the window open and park in the shade, it may not be good enough. The test to tell if it is too hot to leave your pet in the car, if it is too hot for you in the car, it is way to hot for your dog. And don’t forget the longer you are away, the hotter your car gets. Even 15 minutes may be too long.