The Dangers for Dogs in Hot Weather. Be Educated and Be Prepared
Heatstroke: Many thousands of dogs die or end up with serious long-term medical problems because we are often unaware of just how dangerous hot weather is to dogs.
It is forecasted to be a very hot summer. Probably the hottest for many years. With that will come the major health problems caused by heatstroke and dehydration.
Though the UK is not seen as a particularly hot country. It can still get hot and normally humid. Heatstroke can seriously affect dogs within a very short period of time.
Cars: I really should not have to say this but leaving dogs in hot cars is a killer. Many think it’s acceptable to leave their dog in the car if they’re parked in the shade or with the windows open. A car can become as hot as an oven in a very short period of time.
Even on balmy days at 20 degrees or so inside the car could reach over 40 degrees It’s dangerous and will put your dog at risk of heat stroke and death, Many thousands of dogs are killed each year because people did not realise the dangers.
We are fortunate that we can wear lighter and thinner clothing or even go naked, however, dogs have fur coats and often cannot tolerate even moderate heat without suffering.
Very young and older dogs are at higher risk of heat stroke. Brachycephalic breeds (short noses), such as Pugs, French and English Bulldogs and Boston Terriers are at the most serious risks
Obese, long-haired, and dark-coloured dogs are also at a higher risk, along with dogs with hyperthyroidism, cardiopulmonary disease, laryngeal paralysis, or thick hair coats. Yes, we can trim them. but not too short or the dog can get sunburn and the coat grows again very quickly.
It also is worth mentioning that Asphalt roads can also get hot and some days. It melts the tar. which then sticks to the pads. Pavements also get extremely hot as they absorb the sun’s rays and then radiate it back burning sensitive paws. Wherever possible walk on the grass when hot.
Dogs Do Not Sweat All Over: Dogs can only sweat from their paws so they do not cool down like humans who sweat all over their bodies.
Panting is a cooling method for dogs, but this can leave them severely dehydrated. We are often not aware of when dogs are becoming affected by hot weather. Let’s be honest, we often do not even notice when we have been out in the sun too long, or that we are seriously dehydrated or suffering from heatstroke.
Here are some helpful and life-saving tips for helping dogs stay cool in the summer months. Keep all water bowls topped up with fresh water., Take water with you when you go out, avoid exercising pets during the hottest parts of the day Try and coordinate your walk so the dog can get into any water if possible, and has access to water on the walk. Unfortunately, not all dogs swim or will go into the water.
Products That Help: Buy specialised Gel Mats that can keep them cool for many hours with one soaking. I have a large number of slightly marked X small Easidri Gel Mats
We use them at our cafe’s Paws for Coffee in Hampton Hill and my Hampton Hill Natural Dog Store for our hot doggy customers.
Some of these mats which are small I use on my dogs as it cools down their tummies they are slight seconds (the print came off the packaging) for 76% off the normal price. We are selling them are £8.00 each I normally put one in the fridge and the other the dog can lay part of his tummy on. They are great also for cats and little dogs.
Other than the slight markings on them which are just a bit of print, the mats are otherwise 100%. Though these will go very soon. The outer material is an advanced composite waterproof fabric and the filling is food-grade gel Making it totally safe for your pet. They are easy to wipe clean and suitable for use inside and outside.
These are the best gel mats on the market and are also great for dogs with joint problems and arthritis as they act like memory foam and also the gel takes the heat out of inflamed and sore areas.
We also sell chill-out Bandanas that you soak in water and put around the dog’s neck like humans sunstroke also really affects the back of the neck.
Dogs get heatstroke and it can kill them. These are the symptoms.
· Excessive drooling
· Increased body temperature – above 103° F (39° C)
· Bright red tongue
· Reddened gums
· Urinating only occasionally or not at all
· Rapid heartbeat or irregular beats
· Fluid build-up in the lungs; sudden breathing distress
· Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
· Passage of blood in the faeces
· Black, tarry stools
· Small, pinpoint areas of bleeding
· Changes in mental status
· Seizures or Coma
· Muscle tremors
· Wobbly gait or movement
· Unconsciousness in which the dog cannot be brought round
This is what must be done urgently if you see any of these symptoms
Get your dog out of the heat or in shade bring, down the temperature with water all over the body, not really cold water out of the fridge, normal temperature and slightly tepid for really small dogs,
Do not give the dog lots of water to drink if the dog has already collapsed as the kidneys may not be working properly. If it is unconscious do not allow any water into the nose or mouth as this can go directly to the lungs
If you can get the dog home then put it in a bathtub or shower. If you have access to a fan then pass air across the dog, check the temperature regularly. You need an old-fashioned glass thermometer for this as it needs to be inserted in the rectum. Once the body temperature is back to normal 103ºF, then you can stop the cooling measures. Dry and settle down your dog in an area with a fan or a breeze.
I would strongly recommend seeing a Vet, especially if the dog had passed out or became wobbly. or if the dog has symptoms like tarry black stools, vomiting blood or blood in stools, Small, pinpoint areas of bleeding or once recovered appears to have a change of behaviour.
If your dog has already collapsed or is unconscious then suspect severe heatstroke (body temperature over 106ºF) can be deadly and immediate veterinary assistance is required. Treatment will probably include fluids and minerals replacement. Your vet will be able to identify any secondary conditions the heatstroke may have caused.
Complications such as kidney failure, development of neurologic symptoms, abnormal clotting, changes in blood pressure, and electrolytes abnormalities are typically recommended in cases of heatstroke. Dogs with just moderate heatstroke often recover without complications. Severe heatstroke can cause organ damage that might need ongoing care such as a special diet or drugs.
Dogs who suffer from heatstroke once have an increased risk of getting it again. Remember the day does not have to be bright or humid, cloudy days can cause all of these symptoms and it can happen very quickly.
© Stan Rawlinson July 2016
Updated June 2022