- We know you are probably aware that heat stroke is a serious condition that can cause dogs to die if left untreated - but just in case you are not aware of the risks of heat stroke to your dog(s), we have had a veterinary surgeon write up a bit of useful information about heat stroke on our behalf for you to read below -
"Our furry friends feel the heat even more than we do. Dogs and cats do not have the ability to sweat (except for very small amounts in between their toes), so they are much less efficient at cooling. The only ways that they have to cool themselves are; 1) To lay low in the shade for the heat of the day or 2) To pant/ drink cool fluids. You can picture that the surface area of their tongues is much smaller than that of their skin - maybe by 30-1. This means that they can be 30 times more sensitive to the heat! Also, the pavement is much closer to them as they walk and usually is in direct contact with their exposed paws. While paw pads are tough, the pavement can reach more than 65 C in the summer! The radiant heat and the direct contact can cause burns that can take weeks to heal and are very painful. In white, shorthaired dogs there is also a significant risk of sunburn. And animals can become very dehydrated. It’s recommended to keep walks to the early hours of the morning or late in the evening during the summer. If dogs get exercised during hot parts of the day there is a significant risk of Heatstroke. Heatstroke- heatstroke is basically prolonged overheating; this can happen in as little as 20 minutes. Dogs and cats have a higher normal body temperature range than people. They are normally around 38.5 C. If they reach a temperature > 39.5 C, this is considered “hyperthermia” and is technically too hot (either from a fever or overheating). During heatstroke, dogs can easily reach 40.5 – 41 C or even higher! These temperatures can cause major, sometimes irreversible damage to the body. Systems that are most severely affected are the brain, the liver, the lungs and the blood clotting systems! Do not exercise in the heat with your pet, even if you feel ok, they may be much hotter than you are. Keep all walks to cooler parts of the day. I strongly recommend following these guidelines for looking after your pet in the hot weather".
Written for Animals 24/7 on 01st August 2013 by Anja Sibbes, DVM, MRCVS - Veterinary Surgeon