Summer means more time outside in the sun, and we all know who’s coming with us... Our pups! But this extra time outside in the heat can be seriously dangerous, even life-threatening.
Dogs, generally, have a hard time properly regulating their body temperature because they don’t have sweat glands like we do.They have a few in their paws, it’s not enough to help regulate their internal body temperature. This is why it’s especially important to take special care of our pup, especially since they can’t verbalize when they’re hot.
First, we need to learn how to prevent overheating and dehydration. Second, we need to be aware of the signs and symptoms, so you can treat either before any serious damage occurs.Continue readingfor life-saving information & tips
Dehydration, Overheating & Heat Exhaustion
According to the AKC’s Canine Health Foundation,dehydration in dogs occurs when they lose an excess amount of body fluids. This causes a depletion of essential electrolytes, like minerals potassium, sodium and chloride. When you’re outside in the heat, this can occur even faster, so it’s important to keep providing your dog with proper hydration.
Signs of dehydration include panting, confusion, wobbliness, loud breathing or disorientation. Serious stages of dehydration and overheating includes collapsing or convulsions.
Here are two quick tests from the AKC to check (early on) if you dog is dehydrated:
The Neck Skin Test - Gently pull up on the skin on the back of your dog’s neck. If well-hydrated, it should spring back. The longer it takes to return to form, the you pup is dehydrated.
The Gums Test - Gently press your finger against your dog’s gums until they turn a white-ish color, and release. If color does not return (almost) immediately, your pup could be dehydrated.
If you think your dog is overheated, even dehydrated, cool him down with cold tap water. In more serious cases, head to your vet immediately. Make sure you let them know you’re on your way, so they can prepare to act swiftly when you arrive.
What exactly is heat exhaustion in dogs?
PetMD reminds us that our dogs areat risk for heat exhaustion when their body temperature goes above 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Above 106 degrees and your dog is in the extreme danger zone and at serious risk for heat stroke.
Should this occur, organs begin to shut down and the heart could stop altogether. This can happen in as little as 15 minutes in a hot car.
Recognizing & Preventing
With some simple precautions and planning, it’s easy to prevent overheating and dehydration. To help prevent dehydration, give your dog water at least once every hour. For the active dog, make sure they get water even more often. Many dogs are such go-getters that they will run until collapsing.
It’s important to watch them closely and know when your dog has had enough. Our friends at Hill’s Pet Nutrition provides helpful initial steps to take. To start, look for shade to help combat overheating. If you can find a hose or body of water(even a cool shower works) to get them wet and help dissipate the heat, even better. Provide them with clean drinking water, but don’t force it.
Going The Extra Mile
As we mentioned before, it’s not just lack of water that causes dehydration or worse in our pups. In the heat, dehydration depletes our essential electrolytes, which their bodies, like ours, need to function properly.
There’s a reason that Gatorade, Powerade, and other sports drinks have become so popular. You need to replenish electrolytes after activity, but the relatively high amounts of sugar in these drinks make them unsafe, even dangerous for dogs. Sugar can seriously disrupt your dog’s digestive processes.
Loaded with essential electrolytes to keep their hydration levels up, Go Dog is what they need during the hot summer months. A mix of electrolytes, short-burst, and long-range energy fuels help keep your dog in their performance safety zone. Most importantly, your dog is protected against overheating and dehydration.
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