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A Dog For The Family

 

A DOG FOR THE FAMILY

 

Before you take your dog on a quick ride to the grocery store or do double-duty exercise by jogging with him, learn why beloved dogs die every summer!

 

  

 

 

WHY HEAT KILLS DOGS

NetPlaces Network Staff

 

According to 2018 veterinary statistics over 60 dogs died from overheating in cars and/or prolonged sun exposure. Realistically we could multiply that figure by 20 because most such fatalities are not reported. Many of those dogs were left in the car “for a minute” while the owner “picked up a few things” from the store. Other family dogs were tied out to go potty and someone forgot them or “the shade moved”.

 

Heat-related deaths are not accidental. An accident is something that can’t be foreseen and therefore, prevented. Exposing your dog to summer heat and humidity with no way to cool down is not an accident, it is murder. It is no different than pointing a gun at someone, pulling the trigger, and then saying “But I never thought it would kill him!

 

There have already been 8 children killed in 2919 from being left in parked vehicles that quickly over-heated. Why? Because a loving parent became distracted in an air-conditioned store and didn’t think about outside heat. “Not thinking” is the worst kind of tragedy, one which will plague those parents for the rest of their lives. Even more shocking, in 2017 (the last year we could find statistics) the CDC reported 1,985 children under 9 years of age died in “unintentional injuries”.{Ref #1}

 

As a pet parent you can be sure that number is multiplied many times over in animals. Obviously, dogs can’t call for help but there’s another reason dogs die from heat stroke...

 

Dogs Don’t Sweat, Dogs Can Only Pant To Release Heat

When you start out the door with your beloved pet in tow for a jog around the block, think about this. You sweat and the evaporation cools your body. Your dog can’t perspire!!! He can only pant. He pants because a dog’s tongue and mouth is the only part of his body that can release heat! Panting is a poor form of heat dissipation but to compensate, an overheated dog will seek shade, scratch up some cool earth and plop his bare belly on the ground.

 

Too many well-meaning joggers lose their dogs to heat stroke. Many state park jogging trails offer little shade and no access to water and increasingly are banning dogs. Fortunately, most people heed warm weather warnings for themselves, bring enough water and have the appropriate hiking attire, all of which help make rescues a rare event. The same cannot be said for their dogs, hence the trend towards prohibiting dogs from many people-parks and jogging trails.

 

Why Is Over-Heating Risk Worse In Dogs?

While any pet or person can experience this condition, there are specific risk factors that you need to be aware of that make some dogs more susceptible to heat than others:

 

Older dogs are more affected by hot humid weather and just like people, old dogs tire easily.

 

Puppies have more energy than good sense. When a puppy begins to lag, pick him up and go home.

 

Short legs have to work twice as hard to keep up. Shorter walks for your Bassett or Dachshund.

 

Short nose or smush-faced (brachycephalic) dogs cannot breathe as well due to shorter nasal passages. They are therefore extremely inefficient at cooling through panting and prone to produce frothy or slimy saliva making getting air even more difficult.

 

Common sense tells you that long-coated breeds suffer more from heat but those with undercoat just can’t take it. Wear a wool sweater and go jogging in summer and you will understand why your Husky or Malamute’s undercoat makes him want to quit on you.

 

Fat dog? Losing the weight through diet and exercise could save his life but exercising in the heat of the day could kill him! Fatty tissue doesn’t disperse heat effectively. Start exercise in early morning or after dark, a little at a time. As he begins to shed the fat, work up to longer periods. If you have a black dog, the color will soak up the sun and turn the dog’s body into an oven!

 

Carry water from home in a doggy water dispenser. You probably carry water for yourself but if you are hiking or jogging with a big breed you will need extra water. You should also be aware that heat stroke builds up slowly and then hits quick and hard!

 

If your dog is panting so hard he has to breathe while trying to lap (a little at a time) water, use it to douse his face and back, then head for home immediately. Check his mouth, if his gums are red and “puffy” call someone to QUICKLY come pick you and the dog up and seek shade in the meantime. Always carry a cell phone while jogging!

 

If the car A/C doesn’t make him feel better quickly, (panting becomes more like breathing, gum color improves to pink, tongue is dripping but not frothy) get him to the veterinarian ASAP. Otherwise, get him straight home, give him a couple of ice cubes, put him in front of a fan (you still have a fan, right?) and observe him carefully. Do NOT douse his body with cold water to cool down. That causes the blood vessels to constrict and may bring on shock or other problems. You can wrap a cold wet towel around his neck, it is effective and safer.

 

Reference and Related Information: #1 CDC Report  ~  See the display links below to be better prepared and forewarned about heat stroke.

Copyright TheDogPlace.org 1908  http://www.thedogplace.org/FAMILY-DOG/Why-heat-kills-dogs-st19F08.asp

 

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