Heat Stroke? No Joke! Exercise, Heat, and Hot Dogs.

As CCLA walkers, we live to make your dogs smile! While we always have a good time, we also know that even our spry little friends have a limit to the amount of fun they can handle! We are no strangers to working with excited boys and girls who are eager to move fast and furiously, but have sadly suffered from heat stroke before. And as the summer weather begins to return, it’s important to know how much exercise is too much. The answer to this question is complex and every owner should consider your dog’s breed, energy levels, health, and size to help you gauge their exercise limitations.

It’s important to know the risk factors and warning signs of what happens when our dogs are just too tired, but polite enough to make us think we’re still doing them good! When a dog is getting worked beyond their limits, their internal body temperatures will rise past a safe level. This causes what is commonly known as heat stroke, and it is nothing to joke about.

Now it’s quite obvious that our dogs have a little more hair than most of us, and it’s safe to say: these pups will be HOT DOGS in no time! To make matters more difficult, dogs don’t have the tools that humans have to relieve heat in their system. No sweating, no cool baths on demand, and no personal AC units! Dogs are limited to panting to relieve heat, with their paws and stomachs being the only surface they have to cool off on a patch of grass or a cool floor. While walking our heat sensitive boys and girls, we always make sure we allow them many shady water breaks and time to roll around in the cool grass. It’s important to listen to your pooch and keep an eye on some of the signs that your dog could be suffering from heat stroke.

They include:
·  Excessive panting

·  Red gums or conjunctiva (the light pink part of the eye)

·  Dry mucous membranes (A dry mouth)

·  Lethargy, sluggishness

·  Gastrointestinal upset (vomiting/diarrhea)

·  Hypersalivation (extra drooling)

·  Excessively High heart rate (resting at over 100 bpm consistently)

If your dog experiences signs of heatstroke, please seek professional help immediately. However, if medical attention is not readily available, encourage them to drink water and, if possible, have them stand in a bath or hose off in cool (not cold) water! This will help bring their body temperature down.

Since hot dogs are the topic of conversation, it’s crucial that we touch on a few other dangers that can accompany a hot pooch on a warm day. Hot cement is one of the hazards that even the best intentioned of owners seem to disregard. Thinking about walking your pup on the streets of LA in 77-degree weather? Sounds great! But don’t forget the asphalt will be much hotter. According to Pooch and Claws, a 77-degree day will turn the asphalt into a whopping 125-degrees. This temperature will vary, depending on the time of day and where the shade lies. However, an important tool is to test out the concrete yourself by placing the back of your hand on the cement for at least 7 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pup!

Lastly, NO DOGS LEFT IN HOT CARS PLEASE! This is very dangerous for our furry canines as it is much hotter in a stifled car, than it is outside. Please try to avoid this scenario as much as possible and also know that it is illegal in California to leave or confine, “an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health of an animal… due to heat, cold, lack of ventilation, lack of food or water, or other circumstances that can cause suffering, disability, or death”.

In fact, even Tesla has acknowledged the importance of heat sensitivity and has taken heroic steps to add a device that actually regulates the temperature inside the car to allow pet owners to walk away with peace of mind. Worried about a stranger calling pet control after seeing your pup in the newest Tesla models? You won’t have to worry about that, as Tesla has even installed a feature that clearly alerts passersby that your pets are safe! 

Have any more tips for our readers on how you cool your pup down? Share below!

Other Sources:

Zukes

Pooch and Clawsh

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