How Heat Affects Dogs: What You Need To Know To Care For Your Pet
Humans have a very effective defense mechanism against heat. Our body stays cool by producing sweat in order to evaporate the heat away.
Unfortunately, canines do not have sweat glands and therefore cannot deal with excessive heat as adequately. While they are able to evaporate the heat through their panting and glands in their paws, they can still exhibit signs of heat stress.
At Euro Puppy, it is our wish that every dog owner understands the critical importance of monitoring their dog’s health when in a humid and high temperature environment, so we compiled this guide below to help you recognize the signs of heat stress in dogs and how to take the appropriate actions.
How to Acclimate Your Dog to the Heat
For the most part, most dogs are able to adapt naturally to a warm climate. If your region is known for blistering hot summer months, then gradually get your canine acclimated by taking it out for leisurely strolls when it’s warm but not sweltering.
Once the thermometer shoots up come summer time, continue with the daily walks but reduce the time spent outside.
Heavy panting is a sign of mild heat exhaustion in dogs, which is the stage that precedes the more serious heat stroke. It’s not necessary to retreat indoors right away, though you should find a shaded area and give it some water.
Hydration is also important because while panting helps fight off the heat, it also dehydrates the body. Dogs also enjoy ice water just as much as people do, so keep the H2O cool if possible.
If you regularly engage in rigorous exercise with your canine, scale it back a bit if it’s really hot or conduct the workout indoors or in an area with plenty of shade. If a pool or body of water is available, let your dog take a dip so it can cool off.Use an Ice Pack
There is hardly a feeling more refreshing than an ice pack applied to the face and body after engaging in rigorous activity on a hot day. Dogs will appreciate an ice pack too. A frozen water bottle will do the trick; just place it on the floor and allow your furry friend to lick it and place its head on it as a makeshift pillow.
This will quickly allow its body to cool down since most of the blood vessels are positioned close to the throat and neck area.
Apply Sunscreen and Keep the Fur Well Groomed
Unbeknownst to most owners, canines are also capable of getting sunburn. Apply sunscreen on areas of your dog not covered by fur, such as the tip of the ears and nose. If you notice a burn on the skin, it can be treated using a number of natural remedies, such as aloe vera, witch hazel, or vitamin E oil.
While the fur can protect the dog’s body from heat, it can also trap heat especially if it’s tangled. Consider bathing your dog and grooming it more often during the summer to keep the fur soft and its undercoat strong.
How to Treat a Heat Stroke
In more severe cases, your dog may exhibit early signs of a heat stroke, which is more severe than heat stress and exhaustion. Prolonged heat stroke in dogs can lead to death in the worst case scenario.
Constantly monitor your canine for the following symptoms:
- Rapid panting
- Pale or reddish gums
- Thick saliva
- Dizziness, or walking on wobbly legs
Immediately bring your dog indoors and continue to keep a close eye on it. Turn on the fan and wet its body with cold (but not freezing) water. If it continues to appear lethargic, then call a vet right away.
It’s actually a good idea to take it to a vet even if it appears to be recovering to be sure that it isn’t dehydrated or suffering from other complications.Best Dog Breeds for Hot Weather
Every dog breed is susceptible to heat to some extent. However, some are better able to acclimate than others. If you’re contemplating about adopting a dog and live in a region known for triple digit weather, then consider the following breeds:
It must be emphasized that just because these breeds are better acclimated for the heat does not mean that you should test its limits. All the rules about canine care in the heat still apply.
These breeds, however, are especially good choices for those living in Middle Eastern regions. Countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates do allow for canines to be purchased overseas and shipped to the country. The breeds listed will especially be able to acclimate to the hot and dry weather.
If you're interested in adopting a puppy from the aforementioned breeds, or any puppy for that matter, do feel free to contact Euro Puppy. Our site has one of the most comprehensive databases of young pups looking for a suitable human family and home.
Even if your region is known for formidable summers, most puppies are versatile and can make the adjustment as long as you understand how heat affects dogs and give it a gradual transition.