Cutie Paws Pet Talk

The Dog days of Summer...

— Posted by administrator @ 09:57

July 30, 2010…

What a beautiful day to be a pet sitter! Not that every day isn't a great day to be a pet sitter, but when we have weather like this it just makes it all the more special. It has been quite a summer with record heat waves bringing the thermometer to a boil; taking a dog for a walk is almost impossible.

Here is some important information from the American Red Cross regarding hot weather and pets.  Keep the following in mind while enjoying summer fun with your best furry friend.

A dog can become a victim to heat stroke just as easily as a human.  Did you know that the normal temperature for a dog is between 100° - 102.5° F? On a hot day your dog can easily succumb to heat stroke (hyperthermia) or heat exhaustion so make sure that your dog has cool shady place to rest if they are outside with plenty of water. Even better during these hot summer months keep your dog indoors with the air conditioning if you can.

The common causes for heat stroke are: a previous episode of heat stroke, dog not acclimated to the weather, excessive exercise in hot, humid weather, lack of appropriate shelter for an animal kept outdoors, thick  coated dogs in warm weather, preexisting health conditions, such as upper airway, lung and heart disease and a dog left in a parked car. Never leave your dog in a parked car! Even with the windows cracked your dog can suffer heat stroke and possibly die. The temperature in a parked car on a hot day can exceed 120 degrees!

What are the symptoms of heat stroke?

  • Collapse
  • Increased body temperature - 104°F or above.
  • Vomiting or bloody diarrhea
  • Stupor, seizures or coma
  • Excessive panting or trouble breathing
  •   Increased heart rate (normal heart rate for an adult medium size dog is 60 – 100 beats per minute. You can check your dog’s pulse by placing two fingers at the point located just above the dog’s middle pad on the underside of their front paw.)

What to do if your dog suffers a heat stroke?

  •   Get your dog out of direct heat.
  • Spray your dog with cool water for a minute or two.
  • Place water-soaked towels on the dog’s head, neck, feet and chest.
  • Immediately take your dog to the vet.

The goal is to reduce the body temperature gradually; once the body temperature reaches 103 degrees you must stop the cooling process because the body temperature will continue to decrease and may plummet dangerously low.  Once you have reduced the dog’s temperature the dog should be seen by a veterinarian; the consequences of heat stroke may not show up for hours or days after exposure. Some of these conditions may be fatal if not medically treated.

Medical conditions include:

  • Kidney failure.
  • Destruction of the digestive track.
  • Abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Neurological problems.
  •   Respiratory arrest.

*All information in this article was obtained from the American Red Cross Dog First Aid Handbook; Copyright 2008 by The American National Red Cross.

Visit the American Red Cross at:


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