Even though we have had a few breaks in the weather, September in North Texas can still be hot, dry and exhausting for everyone…including your dog. Many people don’t realize that their pet suffers as much – and sometimes more than they do in the long dog days of heat.
“Dogs get sunburn, heat stroke and heat exhaustion just like their owners,” said Christopher Lu, Director of Operations at Doggie’s Wonderland in Coppell and Plano, Texas. “Because they don’t sweat efficiently like we do, they are far more susceptible to these dangerous health issues. One minute they can be chasing the ball and wagging their tails, and the next minute, they are in real trouble.”
Heatstroke is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Once the signs are detected, there is very little time before serious damage – or even death – can occur.
It’s a common misconception that dogs can self-regulate or that they will naturally know what to do on a scorching day. When they are playing, chasing a squirrel or even walking with their owners, they will keep going until they collapse on the hot sidewalk. If the owner is not there to give immediate aid, the dog could suffer potentially life threatening results.
According to Lu, here are the signs of heatstroke:
- Vigorous panting
- Dark red gums
- Tacky or dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums)
- Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up
- Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
- Thick saliva
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Increased rectal temperature (over 104° requires action, over 106° is a dire emergency)
If you suspect your dog might have a problem, take these steps immediately:
- Get out of the sun.
- Cool your dog. Place cool, wet rags or washcloths on the body - especially the footpads and around the head.
- Don’t overcool. DO NOT use ice or very cold water! Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body's core from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. In addition, over-cooling can cause hypothermia. When the body temperature reaches 103°, stop cooling.
- Hydrate. Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into their mouth.
- Go to the vet. Visit your vet right away - even if your dog seems better. Internal damage is not obvious to the naked eye, so an exam is necessary.
Certain dogs tend to be more susceptible to heat stroke including obese dogs and short-nose dogs (think bulldog or pug).
Because September can still be pretty hot in North Texas, the best strategy is prevention. Doggie’s Wonderland recommends limiting your pet’s outdoor time during the heat of the day, taking walks in the early morning and evening and having cool spots outside if your dog does go outside.
“A shady spot, an insulated dog house and a wading pool can go a long way to keeping your dog cool when he’s outside,” added Lu. “Also, be aware that their sensitive foot pads can burn on sidewalks and streets so keep to the grass if you have to be outside during the day.”
“Pets are the furry heartbeats of our homes, but few of us are lucky enough to be able to spend time with them during the workday. Dog daycare helps them stay healthy while having fun with other dogs,” added Lu.
Doggie’s Wonderland is a cheerful daily dog daycare and boarding facility with locations in Plano and Coppell, Texas. Unlike most dog daycares, Doggie’s Wonderland follows a “kennel free” philosophy. Unless it is bedtime or dinnertime, all dogs have open access to its indoor facility and outdoor playground.
Doggie’s Wonderland – Plano
505 Alma Drive Plano, TX 75075 (MAP)
Tel: (972) 881-1905
We are located on the southwest corner of Alma & Plano Parkway. Across the street from Collin Creek Mall and just one block away from Central Expressway (Highway 75) or George Bush Turnpike (Highway 190).
Doggie’s Wonderland – Coppell
120 E. Bethel School Road Coppell, TX 75019 (MAP)
Tel: (972) 745-9100
We are located on the northeast corner of Denton Tap Road & Bethel School (across the street from the post office) and only 4 miles away from DFW International Airport.