This isn’t going to be an in depth scientific explanation about heat exhaustion and heat stroke in dogs. It is going to be an alert about it and what you should do if you find yourself in this situation with your dog. Thank you to our friend and upcoming colleague in animal naturopathy, Angela Rector, who asked us to write about this topic today.
This is such an important topic humans and one that bears reminding every single summer bepaws humans just can’t seem to get this through their heads:
1. We have higher body temperatures than humans
2. We wear fur year round
3. We don’t have pores in our skin to sweat like you do. We pant to let off excess heat. We let it off through our ears and paws too. So walking us on HOT concrete is actually INSANE! Paw pads can and do burn, WOOF!
4. We can’t “strip” down our “clothes” the way you can to get cooler and besides our fur acts as insulation for us for both cold and hot.
5. We need access to shade – that should be a no brainer.
6. Some dogs don’t do well in extreme weather of any kind such as the brachy breeds – no long snout to “air condition” the body.
7. We need WATER!!!
8. Cars get REAL hot, REAL fast, even parked in the shade, especially if you only crack the windows or don’t crack them at all, grrrrr.
Here are some of the symptoms of heat exhaustion which is a precursor to heat stroke which can and does kill so do your due diligence PLEASE:
hyperventilation (deep breathing)
increased salivation early then dry gums as the heat prostration progresses
confusion or inattention
vomiting or diarrhea
Read more: Heat Stroke in Dogs – VetInfo – keep in mind that the recommended remedies aside from the basic and obvious is conventional but there is good information here nonetheless.
Here are some ways that both Mom and Angela have helped their own dogs PREVENT heatstroke – and of course one of those dog is MOI:
1. I have a tendency to get hot real fast, so Mom makes sure to walk me in the cool of the early in the morning. The air is fresh and cool, which gives me the zoomies which I can enjoy simply bepaws it is not hot yet. So I get to work off energy – that keeps EVERYONE in my house happy, WOOF!
2. Mom prepares for our walks like we’re going on a long hike – which in a way we are bepaws we are typically gone for about an hour. But she brings me a little water dish and a BIG jug of water which she straps on over her shoulder.
3. Mom takes periodic breaks on our walk to give me some water – not a lot at a time so I don’t have a problem with my stomach but get cooled off. She always stops in the shade (as you can see in the photo above – which is an “after zoomie” photo during a morning walk) so I can rest and cool off a bit and get a drink of water. Most of the walk is in the shade until the sun comes up but Mom does her due diligence for my protection.
4. I have am an onyx brindle – dark coated so I can’t be out in the hot of the day. I stay inside in the cool air conditioning until the cool of the evening. I only sunbathe in the early morning during the summer. In winter I sunbathe off and on all day. My humans always keep a big bucket of water for me outside year round – which is replaced with fresh water DAILY. They keep my inside bowl filled too.
5. I’m not overly fond of water other than jumping in dirty mud puddles hehe, but other humans like to keep some sort of water pool available for their dogs in summer to cool off during the day – supervised play in water is often necessary bepaws we dogs can be like little children in many cases. If you leave your dogs outside all day then shade is NOT optional and neither is a full water bucket.
6. Often a soak down with the hose won’t do it for us. It pays to know the needs of your individual dog and breed.
7. Please don’t leave us in a hot car during the summer – too many dogs die every year for that very reason. The inside of a car gets VERY hot and fast. And heatstroke can happen in only 20 minutes and death shortly after.
8. Back to my morning walk…Mom always washes my feet off in a bucket of cool water and that does two things: 1) it cleans my feet, and 2) it cools me down fast. So IF your dog has heat exhaustion, read the explanation on the vet website above, and then follow those instructions. Do NOT use ice or ice water on us. Cool water (not even cold) is best. Get our ears and feet cool as quick as you can. Small dogs can just be put into a cool tub of water and cooled down. It’s a bit harder with us big dogs if we’ve already collapsed, so use your common sense – wet towels and soak us down with cool water…ears, feet, head, abdomen. Give small amounts of water orally if your pet is conscious.
9. Some remedies Mom and Angela keep on hand to use include Rescue Remedy by Bach Flower Remedies and essential oils*.
10. I stay home in the cool air conditioning when my humans run errands or go do “human stuff“.
I hope this helps you some humans. My humans really hate to see people out walking their dogs in the midday sun – it is good and necessary to exercise us but you MUST exercise common sense too. Do this in the cool of the early morning. It requires you to get up earlier of course but that’s part and parcel with having pets (OR late evening). This will save heartache on your part and suffering on ours. Thank you, WOOF!
Have a pawsitively tail waggin’, NATUROPATHICALLY healthy day!
Photo Attribution: Meshach the Great Dane by Dr. Kim Bloomer, Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved
*Quality, non-store bought, non-synthetic, non-adulterated, non-pesticide grown essential oils.
Kim Bloomer, V.N.D., N.D. is an animal naturopath as well as being certified in small animal nutrition, with years of experience in animal wellness. Dr. Kim is a published author, writer, blogger, host of the DOGgone Truth podcast and Founder of the online distance learning school, Kingdom School of Natural Animal Health. Copyright ©2005-2023 Aspenbloom Pet Care, Dr. Kim Bloomer, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author/Publisher. This article is intended to be educational. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a qualified animal health professional. Dr. Kim Bloomer and Aspenbloom Pet Care, do not assume any legal responsibility for misuse of the products discussed in this article. The only essential oils referenced on this website are Young Living.