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Preventing Dog Heat Stroke During Summer Walks in Chicago

The majority of people love the Summer Season, especially in Chicago, however, warm and humid weather can be a threat for your dog’s health by suffering a heat stroke. First of all you should be aware that certain dog breeds are more prone to suffer a heat stroke because of their short-nose, or large dogs because of their wide chests. Then if you own a dog that falls in either of these two categories, you must be even more extra careful! For example, an English Bull-dog is short-nose breed, or a Weimaraner dog is a large wide chested breed. Generally, any breed is very susceptible to heat. Secondly, it is important to understand that dogs do not cool off as easily as human beings because dogs can’t sweat. Dogs do have sweat glands on their feet, but remember that their body is covered entirely with fur. Therefore, the method dogs use to realize the heat from their bodies is by breathing or panting which it is not enough if a dog is exposed to high temperatures. Dogs can easily, in as minimum as 15 to 20 minutes, get a heat stroke.

Here are a few tips to help your dog beat the summer’s heat:

  • Number one rule of thumb: If the temperature is high outside, keep your dog from spending long periods of time outdoors. Take her out just for the necessary amount of time to do her duties. It is just as humans, we avoid exposure to the heat.
  • Even if you are running errands, do not take your dog with you and/or leave her in your car. Keep in mind that the car’s metal can get over heated very quickly, thus the same can happen to your dog in as little as 20 minutes.
  • If you plan to take a long walk at the park or to go to the dog run. It can be difficult to keep your dog under the tree’s shadows. Best advice is to have with you a frozen bottle of water to provide cool water to your dog in time slots of 15 to 20 minutes in between.
  • Do not assume that your dog will be free of suffering a heat stroke if you go swimming with her. During summer time, the water can very well be as warm as 72 degrees, and that temperature is more than enough for a dog to get overheated.
  • If you own a short-nose or a large breed dog. A cooling dog collar can help your dog to keep a normal body temperature while in the outdoors. Truth is, the collar is suitable to any type of breed.
  • Another way to help your dog cool down is to rub alcohol on her paws. Especially after walking on hot pavement.
  • For the dog owner who takes their dog running. The best time to do so is very early in the morning or in the evening by the sunset when temperature is not high.

What are the symptoms of canine heat stroke?

  • The dog has excessive panting.
  • Underneath the ears and neck is super hot.
  • If you can measure her rectal temperature and if it is high at or above 104 degrees; your dog is suffering from a heat stroke.
  • Her saliva is thick, gum are pale and tongue reddish.
  • If your dog vomits or collapses then it is time to seek immediate medical help.

Meanwhile you are taking your dog to the vet. Pour cold water around her neck and underneath her ears. Your dog might not want to drink water, but it is recommendable to make her drink small amounts. Put your dog in a cold environment. For example, turn on your car air conditioner high enough while you arrive at the veterinary office.

Remember immediate emergency measures are essential for a dog who suffers a heat stroke. That can draw the line between death and life. However, it is better to play it safe and preventing a heat stroke is the ultimate way to go.