Summer Heat Stroke… Is your dog at risk?

Everyone has heard the expression “sweating like a pig”- but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Pigs don’t have sweat glands- that’s why they prefer the mud to help them stay cool. What about your cats and dogs? Their sweat glands are minimal- located in their paw pads and noses. How do they stay cool? Panting is helps them to evaporate moisture and cool down. Horses are king- they can produce twice as such sweat as you can per square inch of skin. Is heat stroke a real threat for our Texas pets? YES! The condition is called hyperthermia and can lead to organ failure and clotting disorders during or after their temperatures has been elevated for a period of time. Dogs and cats have a much higher core temperature than we do- 100.8 -102.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Dogs with short noses (brachycephalic) are higher risk for heat stroke as they can’t move air efficiently to use their respiratory tract to cool them. The more effort put into breathing and cooling the more energy exerted and thus their core body temperature rises and the cycle starts to repeat itself.

Sadly enough one contributing factor in Texas is when pets are accidently locked in cars, garages or other confined areas that heat up quickly.

We want our pets to be part of our summer fun so here are some tips for avoiding hyperthermia:

  • Start slow
    • If your pet spends more time on the couch then on walks don’t expect them to suddenly be fit and ready for a came of fetch or a day at the beach. Expose them to frequent but short exercise periods.