Before you head out for some summer fun with your pup, make sure you do a quick weather forecast check. If it going to be a hot and humid day, you will want to take some precautions. By now you probably know to NEVER leave your pup alone in a hot car (If you didn't know that, now you do). Yes, never, under any circumstance. Not “in the shade” and not with the windows cracked. It can only take moments for your pup to overheat.
While this example is extreme, do you know how long your pup can safely be in the heat? While the answer to this question will be unique to your dog, it is important to know the signs that your pup is too hot. If your pup gets too hot, they can suffer from heatstroke (as can you for that matter, so make sure you are both staying cool and properly hydrated).
What are the signs of heatstroke in dogs?
- Hypersalivation (drooling)
- Warm to touch
- Red mucous membranes in your dog’s mouth
- Rapid heart rate
- Dry nose
- Quiet or poorly responsive, may lay down and refuse to stand up (may be unable to stand)
- Blood from their mouth or in their stool
- Muscle tremors
- Ataxia (staggering)
How long does it take for my dog to present with symptoms?
It can vary depending on your dog’s age, health, and activity level. If you are jogging, hiking, or doing any other athletic activity you need to watch your dog carefully.
Dr. Katie Swales, a veterinarian at Rainbow Vet in Darlington, PA warns to watch your dog carefully as heatstroke can come on quickly on a very hot day. This is especially true for brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs like pugs.
If your dog isn’t used to the heat, expose them gradually as this is another factor that can bring on heatstroke more quickly.
What should I do if I think my dog has heatstroke?
If you suspect that your dog has heatstroke, call your vet for instruction ASAP. You should also try to move your dog to a shady spot if you can. You may also start to cool your dog with tepid water. DO NOT use ice-cold water as this can be too much of a shock to your pup’s system. When in doubt, follow the guidance from your vet.
Top tips for to keep your pup cool
There are many ways to stay cool with your pup, even in the heat of the summer. A few of our favorite tips are:
- Keep longer walks, jogs, or hikes to early morning or later in the evening when the sun isn’t as strong and temperatures are lower.
- Always make sure you have fresh, cool water available for your pup.
- If your pup doesn’t drink much water try adding hydrating foods like watermelon and cucumbers to their bowl.
- Keep some dog-friendly pupsicles or "ice cream" in your freezer. Try some of our favorite recipes or come up with your own.
- Purchase a pup-friendly pool (if your dog likes water), or try a cooling mat or bandanna made especially for your best friend.
Stay cool, calm, and collected with even more hydration tips
Now that you know how to spot heatstroke, and have some tips for keeping your pup cool, make sure you have a plan before you head out. Enjoy your fun in the sun the safe way!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.