I recently read a message from a friend who is a veterinary nurse. They had a dog admitted to hospital with heat stroke. The owner was taking it for a walk in the middle of the day. Now, you could argue that a walk shouldn’t be a big deal, but this is Queensland. The middle of the day is very hot, and often humid. Dogs can’t sweat to dissipate heat, they rely on panting and evaporation of water from their tongue. It makes sense that when it’s humid, evaporation doesn’t happen as much.
It doesn’t take much for dogs to overheat. I recently took Guinness to the foreshore for a run one morning. It was nice and cool, and the sky was overcast. By the time we’d driven to the beach, the clouds had disappeared, and the sun was beating down. This was at 7am. He didn’t want to run, just dragged me from shady spot to shady spot. We sat on the beach and enjoyed the view for a while, then just came home.
Symptoms of heatstroke are any and all of a staggery gait, a long tongue dripping saliva, red gums, a glazed look to the eyes and even vomiting. The best thing you can do for your dog is wet them all over with tepid (NOT cold) water, and head straight over to your veterinarian’s office.
The last I heard, the heat stroke dog was rushed to the specialist veterinary hospital with a pretty poor prognosis. It’s not worth the risk. If you’re in any doubt about the effect of the temperature on your dog, err on the side of caution and just stay home. Heatstroke can kill.