Many dog owners think that dogs aren’t as affected by heat. Nothing is farther from the truth. An innocent query: “My AC broke. Will my dog be OK?” led us to write these pointers about saving your dog from heat stroke and other heat-related problems.
While we all love sunbathing and spending some time outdoors in the summer sun, our furry friends may have trouble with the rising temperatures. Dogs are more sensitive to heat than humans.
Therefore, keeping a close eye on your dog when the temperatures rise is important. A dysfunctional AC in the sweltering summer heat might be tolerable for us, but for dogs, it can be very bad.
It becomes essential to keep your pet cool if your AC goes bust. You need to protect it from the scorching summer heat because the dog can develop heatstroke and in the worst case, might even die! In fact, PETA recorded 59 dog deaths in 2021 due to heat-related reasons.
In this article, let us see how one can keep their dogs cool when the AC stops working.
Will My Dog Be OK Without Air Conditioning?
The summer sun, particularly in areas like Texas, can be harsh. Most dog breeds are meant to conserve heat rather than dissipate heat.
Dogs do not have sweat glands and lose heat through their mouths by panting and through the pads of their feet. Panting is the natural cooling system for both cats and dogs. When it gets compromised, it increases the risk of lethargy, stress, and heatstroke.
Which Dog Breeds Are More Vulnerable to Heatstroke?
A study published by the UC San Diego Health Library says that some dog breeds are more vulnerable to contracting heat-related illnesses. According to the study
- Older pooches and pets who carry extra pounds are at an increased risk. In addition, older dogs, such as those over 12 years of age, are likely to have lung or heart issues which further their risk of contracting a heat-related illness.
- In addition, short-snout dog breeds such as Pugs, Pekes, and Bulldogs are more likely to suffer from heatstroke.
- Chow Chows are the most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, followed by Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Dogue de Bordeaux, and greyhounds.
- Another major observation from this study indicates that dog breeds with flat faces are at an increased risk.
- On the other hand, medium-sized dogs such as the English springer spaniels and golden retrievers are at risk of developing malignant Hyperthermia. This inherited condition is likely to cause overheating, particularly during physical activities such as exercise.
The American Kennel Club says that:
- Some breeds, such as Greyhounds and Bull Terriers, need special care since their bodies are vulnerable to sunburn.
- Other breeds with black coats, such as the Schipperke, tend to absorb more heat, further the risk of heatstroke.
If you have a dog who falls under any of the above categories, you need to be extra cautious about keeping them at a decent temperature.
What Room Temperature Is Too Hot for Dogs?
Temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (or 27 degrees celsius) are dangerous for dogs. However, overheating in dogs does not solely happen due to outside temperature.
It is also dependent on your pet’s breed, weight, age, activity level, and body size. The AKC says your dog’s temperature must not go beyond 102.5 Fahrenheit in any case.
What Temperature Should I Keep in My House for My Dog?
A stable indoor temperature ranging between 72-77 degrees Fahrenheit is the most comfortable for most dog breeds.
How To Keep Dogs Cool Without AC?
Here is how to keep your dog cool when your air conditioner is not functioning.
Ensure availability of water to your doggo.
Let your dog consume water to its heart’s content. If your freezer is working, consider making frozen treats to keep them cool. These can be in the form of dog-safe ice pops. If your dog is dehydrated, give it an unflavored pediatric electrolyte solution.
Keep your dog in the shade
Besides plenty of water, pet parents must also ensure that their dog stays indoors or in a shaded area outdoors. Put their crate or kennel in the most low-temperature spot in your house.
Surfaces such as tiles, cement, and hardwood floors will keep your pet cooler than carpets or rugs. If it happens to be the basement, go there with your pet.
Plan walks for cooler parts of the day.
Avoid mid-day walks. Going out in the scorching summer sun is not good for you and your four-legged friend. Always consider the pavement temperature when going out for a walk. Check the pavement temperature with your hand; if it is hot for you, it will certainly be hot for your dog, too, who will walk on it barefoot. Instead, you can consider going for a walk early in the morning or late in the evening. And consider carrying a water bottle along at all times.
Use a battery-operated fan.
Get your hands on a battery-operated fan and use it such that your dog feels better in the heat. One can also spray cool water filled in a spray bottle on its feet pads, groin area, and mouth insides.
Cool clothes, such as chamois material, can help your dog stay calm. Always refrain from putting anything ice-cold on your dog as that has the potential of shrinking its blood vessels and generating even more internal heat. One can also use dog cooling vests and ice bands.
Cooling Crate Pad
Help your dog’s paws in releasing heat. Spread out a cooling crate pad or a wet towel and let your dog stand atop it. One can also use an ice pack wrapped in a blanket.
Keep a dog thermometer handy.
Check your dog’s temperature from time to time and be alarmed if the temperature goes beyond 102.5.
Go to a friend’s house.
If nothing seems to work or you cannot take care of your dog, take them to an acquaintance’s house where the AC is functional.
Do Not Leave Your Pet In A Parked Car.
The Humane Society strictly warns against leaving your dog in a car, not even for a minute’s duration. Even when your car was running and turned on the air conditioner, you should not leave your pet in a parked car.
This is because interior temperatures can rise very quickly. For example, 85 degrees Fahrenheit can reach a dangerous high of 102 degrees Fahrenheit inside a car within 10 minutes. Exposure to such physical environments can result in irreversible organ damage and even death in some cases.
How do I know if my dog has had a heatstroke?
Despite taking all precautions, there are still chances that your pet can develop heatstroke. What does heatstroke in dogs look like? Signs of heat stroke include the following:
- High Rectal Temperature (exceeding 102.5 degrees)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Thick Saliva
- Frequent vomiting
- Extreme thirst and dehydration
- Weakness, lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Heavy panting
- Bright or dark red gums and tongue
In a column published by the College of Veterinary medicine at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Maureen says that dogs that have witnessed heatstroke may have bloody diarrhea associated with damage to the intestine’s lining. The dog may also witness seizures and swelling in the brain.
What should I do if my dog has had a heat stroke?
If you suspect your pet has witnessed a heat stroke, you must
- Immediately pour cool water over its head and body.
- Also, place a fan close to it to increase the cooling furthermore. The cool air will penetrate your dog’s coat and replace the hot air trapped in its fur with cool air.
- If needed, submerge the dog in a tub filled with cool water.
- Ungroomed fur can also prevent the cool air from reaching the pet’s skin. If that is the case, separate your pet’s fur with your fingers to allow the cool air to penetrate the dog’s skin.
- If the dog’s panting does not improve after 10 to 15 minutes, reach out to the closest veterinary doctor. Even when your pet’s condition seems to be stable, it is advisable to visit a doctor for further medical examination.
Dr. Maureen also warns that one must be careful while using water from the hose since it has been resting in the sun and the water is likely to be hot.
How To Deal With Burnt Dog Paws?
Taking into consideration the surface temperature of the surfaces where your pet is going to walk is imperative. If exposed to high temperatures, dog paws can develop burns. Four Paws recommends washing the pet paws with cool (not cold) water. Bandage each affected paw carefully or cover it up with a clean sock. One must be very careful while using ice on dog paws since improper usage of ice can cause damage to the dog’s tissues.
How Long Do Heatstroke Symptoms Last in Dogs?
While your dog can recover from a mild heat stroke in a few days (or maybe two weeks at max), hyperthermia is not something to be taken lightly. It can even result in organ failure.
Some dogs may also witness seizures and irregular heartbeats. Hence, a veterinary doctor may prescribe a special diet as your furry friend heals from the heatstroke.
A Few Final Words
Did you find the write-up insightful, or did we help you? Let us know your thoughts and what more questions you want us to write. You can share the same with us in the comments section. Also, consider sharing this with fellow pet parents.
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