Summertime in Northern Virginia is when everyone enjoys playing, relaxing, and entertaining outside, especially with our pets. However, there are certain safety issues that must be considered when our pets are outside and the temperature reaches for the triple digits. Heatstroke can occur during the hot summer months, so it is very important to keep your dog cool. If you have a dog walker, be sure she has an emergency plan and is certified in first aid. Also, ask your dog walker to walk your pet where there is plenty of shade and grass; it only takes a couple of minutes for a dog to overheat. Your dog’s normal body temperature ranges between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit and when his body temperature elevates above 106 F, his normal cooling mechanisms become overwhelmed, which can result in a serious condition that may require medical attention. Furthermore, high temperatures can lead to dehydration and blood thickening, which puts strain on the heart.
Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to heat related problems than others. Large breeds like the Chow Chow are very susceptible to overheating. Malamutes, Huskies, American Eskimos, and Newfoundlands, all dogs that prefer colder climates, often have little tolerance for heat and humidity and should not be kept in very hot climates. Bulldogs, Pugs, Shar-Peis, and Boston Terriers or any breeds with shorter muzzles have difficulty coping with heat because of their short and narrow respiratory systems. Symptoms of a canine heat stroke include:
Here are some tips for you and your dog walker to help prevent your dog from getting a heat stroke:
Keep your pet safe this summer. If you act quickly, you can prevent heat stroke!