Caring for your dog during a heatwave

While parts of Canada swelter through a heatwave with temperatures nearing 30 degrees in parts of Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and the Northern Territories, we shouldn't forget that our furry friends will also be feeling the heat.

Here are a few symptoms of heatstroke in dogs that you should watch out for and a couple of tips to help keep your pooch cool in the warmer weather.



Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs

Heatstroke, also called hyperthermia can be fatal in dogs if left untreated and dogs are notoriously bad at dissipating their body heat as they do not sweat like humans do.

Early signs of heatstroke can include:

  • panting
  • excessive production of saliva (hyper-salivation)
  • dry mucous membranes (gums, inner cheeks)
  • raised heart rate
  • dogs may also become hyperactive and excitable

If the dog continues to be exposed to higher temperatures, their condition will worsen and the following symptoms may present:
  • signs of shock such as pale mucous membranes, an elevated heart rate and a drop in blood pressure
  • hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
  • severe dehydration
  • dilated pupils
  • irregular pulse
  • muscle tremors
  • collapse
  • coma

Dogs that are overweight, suffer from hypothyroidism or specific breeds, particularly brachycephalic dogs that have a short snout such as pugs and British bulldogs may be more susceptible to effects of warmer weather.



Tips for keeping your dog cool

You should always ensure your dog has access to clean, fresh water that is refreshed at least once daily.

You should NEVER leave your dog alone in a car, but especially on warmer days as the inside temperature of vehicles can climb quickly, even with the windows slightly open.

Ensure your dog has somewhere cool to rest on those warmer days such as under a shady tree or on a covered porch and you should also limit walks in length and only during the cooler times of the day such as the early morning or early evening.

Your dog may appreciate a small wading pool full of water to cool off in and you can make frozen dog treats from natural peanut butter, some fruits and vegetables and their favorite treats or biscuits.


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