Ok, let’s be furreal - this summer has been HOT and it just keeps getting hotter and more humid. Gross, right? And not to sound like a “Karen,” but if it’s exhausting for you to be outside in this heat, then think about your furbabies’ tolerance, too. What you don’t want is to have to take an emergency trip to the vet for heatstroke. That’s why we’re here to give you all the tips & treats when it comes to preventing heatstroke in your puppers (and what to do if you’re too late).
The number one way to prevent heatstroke in dogs is to keep them inside on hot days. As a rule of thumb, if it is higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit with a high humidity percentage (80-90%), it’s best to not take your dogs out for an extended period of time. If you don’t have air conditioning, ensure you keep them in a shaded area of your home, or an area that gets the most breeze. Be sure to keep your fans running, also, if you have any. And this goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway… NEVER leave your dog locked in a hot car, even with the windows down.
It’s also best to take extra precautions if you have certain breeds of dog. If you have a breed of dog with a long and/or thick coat, be sure to have them properly groomed for the summer months so that their coat does not exacerbate them in the heat. You should also consider keeping breeds like pugs, bulldogs, boxers, and other breeds with impacted airways inside as extreme heat can affect these guys more predominantly.
If you can’t keep your pupper inside, make sure that while they are outside they have access to a shady space and different ways to cool down. In addition to a full water bowl, you may consider putting out some ice cubes if your furry friends crave a good frozen crunch on a hot day (you can even home-make some frozen treats for them!). We also recommend a kiddie pool for them to splash around in -- even better if you have a swimming pool, just make sure they’re supervised!
Now, if your pup starts to pant excessively, drink excessively, or vomits, keep a watchful eye. If you notice that their tongue is bright red or their gums are pale and they have thick saliva, or their skin doesn’t “snap back” if you pinch their neck, or they have an increased heart rate, they’re likely in the early stages of heatstroke and time is of the essence. Of course, the very first thing you should do is call your local emergency vet and let them know what’s going on so you can bring them in.
While you wait for the vet, do your best to try to cool them down, but DO NOT feed them ice at this stage or submerge them in icy waters. As an alternative, try to see if they will drink water, slowly. You can also soak some towels in cool water and place them under their back legs, armpits, or dampen their head, paws, or tail. If within that time they become disoriented, faint, or overall symptoms worsen, get to your local emergency vet ASAP! Even if their symptoms improve, you still want to get them checked out as heatstroke can have long-term effects on the organs.