Beat the Heat – Medical Minute with Dr. McGlasson
Did you know just a few moments left unattended in a hot car could be fatal for your dog?
Signs of Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion
Unlike people, dogs don’t really sweat to cool themselves down. They do have some sweat glands on the pads of their feet, but primarily they cool themselves by panting, and panting is not a very effective cooling mechanism.
If you leave your dog in a hot car and just run in to do a quick errand, it could actually be fatal for your dog. However, hot cars are not the only place your dog is at risk of experiencing a heatstroke or heat exhaustion. Other common causes of heatstroke include being left in a yard without access to shade or water on a hot day, being exposed to a hair dryer for an extended period of time, and excessive or vigorous exercise during hot temperatures.
According to the Kennel Club, research has actually found that the various common causes of heatstroke include:
- Over-exercising, or exercising on hot days (around 75% of cases)
- Not being able to cope in hot weather (around 13% of cases)
- Being in a hot vehicle (around 5% of cases)
- Being in a hot building (around 3% of cases)
Some signs to look out for – excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, lethargy; if you notice any of these, get your dog into a cool place immediately and seek medical attention if you’re worried.
Keep Your Dogs Cool
Any dog can develop heatstroke, but some dogs, such as dogs that are large, energetic, overweight, have a thick coat or flat-faced, are more at risk than others.
Dogs with a restricted airway such as brachycephalic breeds (flat-faced dogs, i.e. pugs, boxers, bulldogs, French bulldogs, Boston Terrier, etc. ) are at greater risk. In these breeds, clinical signs of heatstroke can occur when the outside temperature and humidity are only moderately elevated. Be extra careful with those!
Make sure you’re keeping your furry friends safe during the hotter summer months. Don’t take any chances by leaving them in a hot car or unattended outside without proper shade or cool water – it’s not worth the risk.
“Heatstroke in Dogs.” The Kennel Club, https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health-and-dog-care/health/health-and-care/a-z-of-health-and-care-issues/heatstroke-in-dogs/.
Williams, Krista, and Ernest Ward. “Heat Stroke in Dogs: VCA Animal Hospital.” Vca, https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/heat-stroke-in-dogs#:~:text=Dogs%20suffering%20from%20heatstroke%20can,disoriented%2C%20and%20can%20have%20seizures.