At LONG last, friends, it’s almost the warmest time of the year!
But while summer may have most of us rejoicing, it should also make those of us with pets — especially dogs who go outside — extremely cautious, as it’s all too easy for our four-legged friends to overheat.
"Yes, [cats and dogs do sweat] — but not in the places that count. Not in the places that help them cool themselves," says veterinarian Dr. Courtney Campbell. "They're basically in a fur coat in the summertime, and that’s what makes them so prone to heatstroke."
As he explained, there are two types of heatstroke — the classic heatstroke, which would be brought on by being trapped in a hot place like a closed car in the summer, and exertion heatstroke, which comes from over-exercising in hot weather.
And certain dogs are more susceptible to overheating than others, the vet says.
Which Types Of Dogs Are More Susceptible To Overheating?
Dr. Courtney says that short-faced dogs — like pugs, English bulldogs, Shih-Tzu’s, bullmastiffs and Pekingese dogs — are more likely to overheat than other dogs, because they most likely have Brachycephalic syndrome (which gives them smaller nostrils than normal).
Similarly, labradors who breathe loudly may have laryngeal paralysis, which also makes them more vulnerable to overheating.
Now, hopefully you never recognize any of these symptoms in your pet, but the doc shared heatstroke symptoms to look out for.
- Extreme panting
- Vomiting (tinged with blood)
- Exhaustion (If you throw the ball, and your dog just looks at you and says "Nah, I’m good, you can go get it.")
- Heart is pounding
Fortunately, the doc has ways to prevent both so you never get to this stage — and they're all super-easy!
1. First, let's tackle exertion heatstroke: Before you even take your pup outside, use this simple equation to figure out if it’s too hot:
temperature + percentage humidity < 150
If you’re under 150, you should be good to go — but still be cautious! However, if you're over 150, that means it’s TOO HOT for your dog outside, and you should wait until the temperature drops to take that walk around the block.
Easy enough, right?
2. As for preventing classic heatstroke, Dr. Courtney says he loves a good cooling pad, which your dog can lay down and cool down on. Pop it in the fridge and take it back out anytime you need it. (You should be able to find them in your local pet store!)
3. Another thing you can do? Make your dog her own AC! As shown by Dr. Courtney, all you need is two big frozen bottles of water (2L is ideal), which you put on top of your dog's crate, plus a battery-operated fan aimed at the front of the crate, and voila! You have cool air circulating all around your little fur baby.
4. Never, ever leave your dog in the car under any circumstances, Dr. Courtney stresses — not even if you think you'll just be a minute!
5. Last, and perhaps most crucial: Always have fresh cold water on hand! Rach says she loves to put ice cubes in her dog Isaboo's bowl — and that Isaboo loves it so much, she refuses to drink without them now.
You've got one smart girl there, Rach!