Another hot Louisiana summer is upon us and we need to be aware of heat exhaustion and heatstroke in our canine companions. Dogs are unable to sweat out their body heat the way humans do. They try to normalize their body temperature through rapid, heavy panting as the water on their toungue evaporates and cools them off. The exchange of heat through their paw pads can also help; however, this isn’t always enough to lower body heat. The faster an owner recognizes the signs of heatstroke and exhaustion, the faster the problem can be treated. If your dog has a temperature of over 103 degrees, he or she is at risk of heat exhaustion. If it’s over 106 degrees, it may be experiencing heatstroke and could enter cardiac arrest.Important tips to prevent heat exhaustion:
1. Never leave your dog in a parked car alone. The temperature inside your vehicle can rapidly exceed 180 degrees, even with the windows cracked.
2. Walk your dog during the early morning or evening hours. Avoid walking long distances during late morning and afternoon hours.
3. If you must leave your dog outside during the daytime, always have a large supply of fresh water for him and a shady spot.
4. Overweight dogs and brachycephalic dogs (dogs such as Bulldogs) are more susceptible to heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, spray them down with a hose immediately and get them to your veterinarian without delay. Have a fun, safe and cool summer!
For more information, contact the Northshore Humane Society at 985-892-7387 or visit northshorehumane.org.