Many people associate heat stroke in dogs with pets sitting in cars, but the truth is that it can happen in your backyard. If the temperature is uncomfortable for people, then the same goes for dogs.The summer months can be uncomfortable—even dangerous—for pets and people. It's difficult enough simply to cope with rising temperatures, let alone thick humidity, but things really get tough in areas that are hit with the double blow of intense heat and storm-caused power outages, sometimes with tragic results.
What Temperature Is Too Hot for Dogs?
Dog's temperature is higher than a human's—approximately 101 degrees F to 102.5 degrees F, with an upper level of normal close to 103 degrees F. So ambient air temperature feels hotter to them than it does to us.
You should take extra caution when bringing your pup outside when the temperature rises above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if you’re walking your dog on pavement. However, there are a couple of additional factors to consider when deciding how long your pup can be outside.
Limit exercise on hot days
Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.
Cool your pet inside and out
Whip up a batch of quick and easy DIY pupsicles for dogs. And always provide water, whether your pets are inside or out with you.
Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest or mat. Soak these products in cool water, and they'll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days. If your dog doesn't find baths stressful, see if they enjoy a cooling soak.
Watch for signs of heatstroke
Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
Additional factors also determine what temperature is too hot to walk a dog or stay outside for extended periods. For example, not only are dogs affected by ambient air temperature, but also humidity. When animals pant and moisture evaporates, this takes away heat from their bodies.If the humidity is too high, they're unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly.
This is especially true of brachycephalic dog breeds. Here are just a few examples:
- Bulldogs (American , English and French)
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Shih Tzus
CREDIT: CAITLIN-MARIE MINER ONG / JODY TRAMONTINA
How can I help my dog cool down?
Make tasty watermelon mint pupsicles or break out the doggie ice cream.
Give her a cool place to lay, such as in front of a fan on a cool wet towel, ceramic tile, or a chilled cooling mat.
Always have a water bowl for her when you're on the go, and it's totally fine to slip her an ice cube or two.
And if you don't have a doggie pool, few pups can resist cooling down under a sprinkler!
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*We hope to give you better ideas for your pet, but this information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian. If your pet feels bad, please take it to the veterinarian in time.