MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the dog days of summer, veterinarians have a message they want to get out.
“Keep your dogs inside, it’s too hot, leave ‘em at home,” said Dr. Erin Godinez of Southview Animal Hospital.
Multiple emergency calls — some with sad endings — are proof that dogs just can’t take the heat.
“We’re out there in our bathing suits and we’re hot and we’re sweating, and they’re in a fur coat,” she said.
It’s also difficult for dogs to release heat, because they don’t sweat.
“Their only source to relieve that heat is through panting, and that doesn’t do very much,” Godinez said.
It doesn’t take much for dogs to overheat.
“They don’t know to ask for water, and then, by the time they’re looking sick and feeling ill, it’s too late,” she said.
And once you do bring your dog to help, the internal organ damage can take time to see.
So how do you know if your dog is on the verge of heat stroke?
One tell-tale sign is white gums. You can also check for an accelerated heart rate.
What are some good ways to prevent your dog from suffering?
Keep your dog out of the sun, out of cars and have them exercise as little as possible, Godinez said.
As for haircuts, despite popular belief, they are not a great idea, because hair actually helps prevent direct heat on the skin.
The signs that your dog may have heat stroke are lack of energy and vomiting.
If you do notice any of these signs, the first thing you want to do is cool your dog down with a hose, try to put cold water on the paws, the head, the ears, skin inside legs and the belly. Once you’ve done this, get them to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.