By: Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM | Nov 2, 2016
Dr. Greenway discusses how to avoid heat stress in dogs and what to do if you think your dog is overheated. In this video we discuss how to recognize heat stress and how it happens, the breeds that are more prone to it, avoiding cold water baths, walking your pet during hot times of day, maintaining access to water, using the shade, and the importance of seeking medical attention immediately if your pet shows signs of heat stress.
I get a lot of questions about how to avoid heat stress. We see it in the news all the time about dogs getting overheated on hot days particularly in cars and really succumbing to that and dying from that so we’re going to talk about heat stress.
It’s a really important topic, you first want to look at the breed of your dog and certainly if you have a heavy coated breed like an arctic breed, you really want to watch out for this. The most important thing I see is that once a dog starts to get overheated it’s very hard for them to cool down so once they start to get overheated it keeps building and it gets worse and what you need to do is prevention.
So if you have one of those arctic breeds really pay attention to this. First of all on hot days try to walk your dog first thing in the morning or very, very late at night and avoid that middle part of the day that’s very hot. When you’re walking around, if you start to see that your dog is panting, you’ll want to take breaks even from just walking. Give them about five minutes and see that that panting slows down. Try to walk as much as you can in the shade and basically just try to avoid it altogether. Try not to leave your dog out in the open in the direct sunlight because that will increase the heat effect on them as well.
If you believe your dog has heat stress, you can go and get them some water. Know where the fountain is when you’re going on a walk or bring some water with you. If you’re at home and you think your dog has heat stress, they’ll be panting they won’t be able to settle down, and their panting won’t stop. It’s very important that you go to the veterinarian right away, I can’t overemphasize that. Do not try to put them into a tub of cold water. This is what a lot of people will do, they think will work but what will happen is it actually restricts blood flow to the extremities where dogs rely on dissipating heat and you’ll actually make the condition worse. So call your veterinarian right away or drive there right away or to your nearest emergency facility to get direct help immediately. Your veterinarian will have ways of cooling down your dog without creating more of a problem.
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