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Dog Dies After Routine Walk And Now Owner Is Warning Others About The Signs Of Heat Stroke

It’s a good bet that as a dog owner, you don’t so much think of yourself as merely an “owner”. If you’re like many people, you probably think of yourself as a dog mom or dad, looking out for your little buddy like they are family. Just like a human child you likely keep tabs on your furry friend… you know what he’s up to in the house, whether it’s mealtime or walk time. If you’re like most dog parents, you have a daily routine that you stick to. Walks, meals, and playtime are scheduled into your day, a necessity because of work. But when the weather heats up, it’s a good idea to take extra precautions, and possibly even change things around a little. Heatstroke in dogs is scary and can happen in a flash.

dog walking

Even When It’s Just “Warm”, Be Extra Vigilant

Dogs don’t experience heat in the same way people do… you might think that’s because of their fur coat, but it’s actually because they don’t have sweat glands. Their only remedy for excess heat is to pant, with their tongue out. (2)

Sometimes it’s fun to take Fido along as you run errands during the day, but if you can’t take him into the establishment with you, you are strongly urged not to take him at all. Even if it’s a breezy, lovely 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ve got the car window cracked. Within just 10 minutes, the temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F. In 20 minutes, we’re up to almost 30º F…and the more time that elapses, the higher it soars. At the 60 minute mark, the temperature inside your car can be more than 40 degrees higher than outside. On that lovely 75-degree day, we’re talking 115 degrees inside your vehicle. (1) So, please… make it a rule. Just don’t leave your dog in the car, ever.

Consider taking your morning walk a little earlier, and your evening walk a little later. That middle walk is a tough one, but a good way to manage it is to keep it short, shady, and not strenuous. Now is not the time for a rousing game of fetch. Sorry, little buddy.

Signs Of Heat Stroke

As we now know, dogs don’t sweat, they just stick their tongues out and pant. You’ve no doubt seen your Furry One do this many times, particularly when they are playing. It’s not exactly a sign of distress in and of itself. What you really want to look out for with the panting is the severity of it. Does your dog seem uncomfortable?

If the panting seems more exaggerated than usual, you can assume they are having a reaction to the heat and you should get them inside. Other signs to look out for are: lack of interest in following commands, seeming a little “spacey”, drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, mental dullness or loss of consciousness, uncoordinated movement, and collapse. (2) If you directly observe any of these signs, your dog could be experiencing the beginning of heatstroke, and you should take action immediately: bring them to a cooler place and get them water.

It’s important to know that animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke as little as 15 minutes. (3) This is about the length of a “quick run into the store”, so again: better safe than sorry with your furry loved one and the car.

Reduce Your Dog’s Heat Stroke Risk

The most important thing in prevention of heatstroke is to simply be aware of where they are, and whether they have access to water. As temps rise it can be hard to escape the heat, but that doesn’t mean Fido needs a strenuous walk at noon when the sun is blazing, or even a long one in the morning. 

In other words, a potty break is one thing and a power walk is another. 

Be mindful of your own physical comfort, and if you’re feeling hot or winded, you can rest assured your dog is feeling it too. Just because you typically like to walk 3 miles per day, doesn’t mean you always should.

Your dog loves you to the moon and back and will do anything for you. They will run themselves right into the ground for you, so it’s up to you as dog mom or dad to make sure your furbaby is able to hang with the summer heat. 

Chances are pretty good that you love them that much too; they bring us an awful lot of joy, don’t they? Keeping them healthy and happy with a few simple precautions will help ensure you two enjoy lots of summers together.

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