Help Your Dog Beat the Heat
Learn to recognize and prevent the signs of heatstroke.
Posted: July 30, 2010, 2 a.m. EDT
Yes, it’s hot out there. But for your dog, it’s even hotter.
“Dogs don’t sweat, and they’re wearing a fur coat,” says Kimberly May, D.V.M., the assistant director of professional and public affairs for the American Veterinary Medical Association. “They rely on panting, which is just not effective enough to cool them in a 110-degree car.”
Dark-coated and short-nosed breeds are particularly at risk for heatstroke, May says. Signs of heatstroke include hard panting, staggering gate, rapid heartbeat, listlessness, restlessness, dark red or purple gums and tongue, and vomiting.
A parked car is especially deadly to dogs. Even with the windows cracked on a mild 72-degree day, a car’s inside temperature can jump as much as 30 degrees in 20 minutes, May says.
If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, put a cold towel around her neck and take her in an air-conditioned car to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.
The best advice? Limit your dog’s car trips, especially during warmer weather, May says.
“I tell people, ‘Don’t put your dog in a car unless you’re coming to see me,’” she says. “If you love ‘em, leave ‘em home.”
For more information on preventing heatstroke in pets, check out the AVMA video library at avmatv.org.
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