Submitted by The Pet Loss
Support Group of Marco Island
The horrible details of heat stroke when it kills an animal can be heart wrenching, and many people don’t realize the devastation and heart break — not to mention the blame that stays with a person — when they don’t take precautions with regard to their pets.
A dog can get heat stroke in less than 10 minutes. How? It only take a couple of minutes running in a back yard to become overwhelmed. Dogs running can become distracted as to what is happening internally, especially young dogs since they like to run and chase. This causes increased body temperatures, and by the time they stop, it may already be too late. They lie down, becoming hotter with each second. Some will know they are too hot and unable to walk, and will dig the ground to try to cool. It is sad, but it is true. The dog could pass right there or be in distress for a while.
Dogs like running alongside bikes with their owners in the heat? It is good Exercise? FALSE!
Please, if you feel you need to run your dogs alongside a bike, do it before 5:30 AM. We see dogs running beside bikes, and not one of them looks like it is enjoying it. Keep in mind also that your dog’s pads on the bottom of their feet do burn. If you can’t stand on the pavement, then it is too hot your dogs paws too. Puppies should never run beside a bike. They are not developed enough, and their bones and muscles can be damaged, not to mention they don’t enjoy it.
• Muscle tremors
• Tongue hanging out of the side of the mouth
• Fainting and/or loss of consciousness
• Lack of color in their gums
If your pet shows signs of this, you should take the animal immediately to the veterinarian. You can try to cool the dog down with cool water. Not cold! Apply an ice pack to the dog’s head, but be sure to wrap it in a towel first. You can cover your pet with wet towels, but make sure you keep the pet’s head out to make sure you can assess that it is still breathing. Do not hose your dog off.
Finally, there are a few things to remember as summer approaches. First, dogs do not sweat. Their only means of cooling off is by panting. If panting does not reduce the body temperature, they will develop heat stroke. The color of your dog also impacts their ability to reflect the sun’s rays. Black and dark brown dogs absorb more of the sun’s rays. Dogs with longer hair will hold the heat more. You can clip your dog’s hair short but not too short as they can get a sunburn.
The older dog and the younger, short-muzzled dog (Boxers, Boston Terrier, Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Pekingeses, Pugs, Shitzus and more) should be shown extra care, and should remain indoors in the hot weather and only be out in the heat for short periods of time.
Puppies should never be run next to a bike or for that matter run at a rapid pace for the first 18 months of their lives as they are developing and it could cause permanent damage to their development.
In closing, PLEASE, in the heat, limit your dog’s time outside! Have water available as a constantly. Please, if you read this, pass this along to a friend that may have an animal to prevent distress and potential death to your pet.
These little friends give us so much love and happiness. We need to treat them with kindness and compassion. Keep your companions on a leash so they do not get hit by a car or run uncontrollably, and cherish the time you have with them.