They themselves can’t do it: how to protect a dog from heat and save it from overheating
A dog that has suffered a heat stroke for at least 2 years will be at risk - it’s worse to tolerate elevated temperatures, respond more strongly to them and will easily get more serious heat stroke again.
Weather forecasters predict some extreme heat in Russia in the very near future. If a person has poorly learned poorly how to tolerate natural disasters, then things are worse with animals. Especially with homework. The blogger Olga Bocharova devoted a big post to how to save dogs from heat and its consequences:
“The tape again reports about thermal shock in dogs. Not everyone survives.
Therefore, I beg you to maximize the distribution of this post among dog owners so that no one else will lose their pet due to the heat.
There are many misconceptions about how dogs tolerate heat and how they can be helped. Sometimes help turns into a tragedy. So let's figure it out.
Which dog can get heat stroke? Unfortunately, any.
But in the high risk zone :
- puppies up to 5 months old due to imperfect heat transfer
- young dogs up to 2 years old, who have lived a maximum of one summer and not the fact that it’s hot
- dogs with a shortened muzzle (brachiocephalus)
- dogs with diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems (tracheal collapse, heart failure, etc.)
- full dogs, and any excess weight, even small, is already a risk, because the heart has to work harder and more to cool fat, not muscles
- very shaggy dogs that do not fade to heat - if the undercoat is too much or the wool has fallen off, it ceases to act as an air cushion and becomes a "fur coat"
- Smooth dark dogs, because they have too little hair to provide an air cushion between the hot air and the body, and dark hair quickly heats up in the sun
- elderly dogs due to heat exchange disorders, weak hearts, reduced quality of coat
- dogs that have lived part of their lives in temperate or cold climates and transported to the south - their bodies are used to fighting the cold, not the heat.
How to NOT PROTECT a dog from heat?
- You can not pour water on your back and head if the dog can be in the sun! Wool, even if it is not very much, provides at least minimal protection from the sun. If you wet a smooth dog, then in the sun the wool instantly warms up to the skin. If you wet a fluffy dog, the undercoat does not dry for a long time and the thermal effect is even greater.
- You can’t immerse the whole dog in a cold pond in the heat! A sharp drop in temperature can cause severe cramping, malfunctioning of the heart and lungs in the dog, as in humans, up to cardiac arrest.
Therefore, first let the dog get used to the temperature of the water, not letting it go deep into the water. Let it stand with its paws in the water, then plunge to the belly. If everything is in order - you can gradually let go further, but do not let it stay in cold water for a long time.
- Do not apply ice packs to a dog suffering from heat! Sudden changes in temperature are not good for dogs as well as for humans.
- You can not drink ice water! This can cause cramping as well as lung / stomach / heart problems.
- You can’t cover the dog with a wet cloth on top! Normal wet cloth presses the dog's coat, prevents it from venting, and it quickly heats up.
Short-term wrapping the dog in a wet, cool cloth is necessary, but constantly check with your hand under the cloth to see if the dog is getting hotter than it was. If the coat has become warm rather than cool, urgently clean the fabric.
- You can not cut the furry dogs to a very short coat! Wool is the dog’s natural protection against the sun and adverse environmental conditions. In addition, there are types of wool that are generally not recommended to be cut because of possible violations of its growth.
How to help a dog in the heat?
- Try to walk early in the morning and late in the evening and not let the dog move too actively. If the dog has little activity - give more search games, take new routes where she will sniff more.
- If you had to go out in the sun, be sure to bring cool water and a bowl with you. Avoid the asphalt and try to walk only in the shade. If you notice heavy breathing, offer the dog water. It is cooled by mouth and breathing and loses a lot of moisture.
- Take a bottle of cold (not ice!) Water with you for a walk. If you notice signs of shortness of breath in a dog - a very strongly sticking out tongue, rapid breathing - soak its breast between its legs, belly, armpits and groin, soaking the hair with your hands as best as possible to get to the skin. Do not wet your head and back!
- If your dog is at risk or is difficult to tolerate heat, be sure to purchase a cooling blanket for dogs. There are many different ones, I personally recommend blankets from several layers of special fabric that need to be soaked and that keep cool for up to 2 hours and reflect sunlight.
Such blankets are in the form of vests on the chest of the dog (suitable for active dogs and dogs with a problem back / lower back). And there are large blankets that cover the dog from all sides from neck to tail.
- Be sure to comb out all the excess undercoat from your dog. Not all dogs shed molten heat on time, and many of them need help with molting.
If your dog sheds for a long time or hard - it is worthwhile to take it on an express molt to the groomer in time, so that it "gives" the maximum of the extra undercoat to the heat.
- If you have an old and VERY furry dog (Caucasus, Tibet, Chow Chow, etc.) - think about a hygienic haircut. This is not a bald haircut or very short! And cleaning the excessive length of the coat.
Yes, the quality of the coat is likely to fall after the haircut, but it will be much easier for the dog to live and tolerate the heat.
- If you drive a dog in a car without an air conditioner or it’s very, very hot in your home, cooling mats help well. Best of all, those that have a special filler.
Mats that need to be wet, not all dogs love, because under the dog the mat quickly heats up. If you ever lay in the heat on a damp sheet, you know this unpleasant sensation.
- Make sure that the dog always has cool fresh water available. In summer, it should be changed more often, since dogs breathe with an open mouth from the heat, they secrete a lot of saliva and fall into the water when drinking. If the dog drinks little in the heat, it will overheat several times faster.
- If you need to put a muzzle on the dog - categorically avoid wearing tight muzzles, especially nylon! Even for 10 minutes. The muzzle should be very loose so that the dog can open its mouth easily and can pull out its tongue at least partially.
- Please, in no case leave the dog in the car without a working air conditioner !!! In a 30-degree heat, a dog can get a heat stroke in 5 minutes in a car left in the shade with the windows open.
If I'm not sure, I just stay in the car for 5 minutes with the dog. And if I felt hot, it means the dog will be even worse, since it can only cool with the help of breathing and the mucous membranes of the mouth.
Alarms or heatstroke stages:
It does not always happen. The dog is slightly sluggish, little interested, eats worse, reacts less actively to the treat, tries to lie in the shade. On a walk, it starts to lag, moves slower than usual. Can stumble sometimes. It may lie in the shade and refuse to go further, lie in ditches, in the water near the shore. It looks tired without serious stress.
The dog begins to roll out his tongue, pulling the corners of his mouth back. The tongue is dark or very bright in color.
If the dog has a dark tongue and mouth, you can gently push the lower eyelid of the dog and see the color of the mucous membranes. If they are very red and this is uncharacteristic for your dog, then the dog begins to overheat.
The tongue and mucous membranes darken, the dog begins to breathe faster, the sides "walk with a shake." Usually accompanied by dry mucous membranes. The dog usually lays on its side and refuses to go somewhere, does not eat, but eagerly drinks.
Shortness of breath does not go away despite the measures taken to cool the dog. When measuring temperature - it is elevated, but not by much.
This is already a dangerous condition that requires urgent measures (read below).
The dog is bad. She hardly moves, breathes very often, superficially, so that the whole body shakes. The mucous membranes can be either very dark or very pale.
There is increased salivation, saliva can literally pour out of the mouth. This means that the dog began to feel sick. Because of this, she refuses water (a dangerous sign), if it is hard to swallow in her mouth, she can cough and choke on water.
If the dog is raised to its feet, a slight uncoordination and severe weakness are observed.
A very dangerous condition, but you can still help the dog yourself.
The dog begins to cramp - from weak twitching of the limbs or head to severe muscle spasms. The dog is very scared or semi-conscious.
URGENTLY to the doctor, the dog needs professional help!
What to do if it seems to you that the dog has a heat stroke?
Moderate relief in mild cases:
- Put the dog in the shade, find a cool place
- Drink your dog with cool (not icy!) Water
- Place cool objects on your armpits, stomach, and groin (bottles of cold but not ice water, for example, or a cloth dampened with cold water)
- You can immerse the dog in the middle of the body in cool, but not icy water (bath, ditch, pond)
- Place the dog on a cooling mat, put on a blanket dipped in cold water, attach a cool object / cloth to the back of the head (on the back of the dog)
- Watch your breathing and mucous color. If the dog is worried, check if the objects are warming in the abdomen or the dog under a blanket
- If the dog is very cool, but worried, let it step aside. Perhaps the temperature drop was too sharp and the dog was cold
- Watch the dog for at least a few hours, do not let it go out in the sun, stay in confined spaces like a car, stay in the heat for a long time without cooling
- Try to prevent overheating in the next 2-3 weeks. Unfortunately, a dog is more exposed to high temperatures after overheating.
Serious help and next steps:
1. If the dog has signs of heat stroke - that is, stage 3-4 - urgent measures are needed
2. If you have a car with air conditioning, you need to drink the dog cool water (even by force), take cooling objects with you, during this time cool the air in the car and urgently go to the doctor
3. If the car does not have air conditioning or travel very far and for a long time, and the dog does not have cramps, then try to cool the dog yourself. This is important to do gradually!
4. If you are on a walk and far from home, look for nearby water. A pool of heated water will not work! Need cool but not cold water or a lowland with cool earth or mud
5. Do not completely immerse the dog in cold water or pour it with ice water! Cooling should be gradual. Start cooling your groin, chest, and stomach.
Attach a cool object / cloth to the occipital protuberance (on the back of the dog's neck), change often if it heats up quickly
6. Be sure to drink the dog plentifully, even if you have to force-fill the water in her mouth!
7. If you are at home or quickly get to it, and the dog is ill - the first thing to do is try to water the dog. The second is to cool her. Even wet cold sheets / towels are suitable, but they must be changed often, as they instantly heat up
8. If the dog categorically does not drink, she has nausea or vomiting - you will urgently need to go to the veterinarian or call him at home to set up a dropper. If you yourself know how to put a subcutaneous dropper - excellent!
The main thing is to clarify the amount of saline or Ringer's solution injected under the skin at the veterinarian, depending on the size of your dog
9. If you have an electronic thermometer - we measure the temperature of the dog rectally. It should slowly drop to the normal temperature of your dog (you should know the normal temperature of your dog, since individually, by age and breed, the values can differ by almost a degree)
10. If the dog begins to chill, if it moves away from cooling objects or gets out of the bathtub with cool water, if the temperature has fallen sharply or sharply - urgently need to let the dog warm up. And watch, since the temperature will go up again and the dog will need to be cooled again.
11. It usually takes at least 2-3 hours for the danger to pass. But the dog will feel bad for another 6-12 hours. If you have ever received a heat stroke, then you know that then your head hurts for a long time, it makes you nauseous and you have no strength. Dogs show their condition less, but they are not better.
12. VERY IMPORTANT! If you still have suspicions that the dog has not returned to normal, the next day you need to go to the veterinarian. Then after 2-3 weeks, a mandatory follow-up visit.
BUT even if everything worked out - be sure to visit the veterinarian after 3 weeks or a month. Unfortunately, heat stroke does not pass without a trace. Most often, it gives heart complications.
13. AFTER a heat stroke, your dog will be in a zone of increased risk of overheating for at least 2 years! It will be worse to tolerate elevated temperatures, respond more strongly to them and will easily again receive a more serious heat stroke.
Therefore, take care of the dog in the heat, do not take it out in the sun, avoid active loads at +20 and more degrees, do not leave it in stuffy rooms, buy a cooling blanket and drink the dog on time. And carefully monitor her condition.
Everything is bad, the dog is unconscious or has cramps:
- This is the situation when you need help. If there is a veterinarian nearby, anything will do if they can put a dropper.
- If you have a familiar veterinarian / paramedic / human nurse, you need to urgently contact them for help. We need saline or, better, Ringer's solution, a 20-40 cc syringe or a system for installing a dropper. If it is not possible to put a dropper into a vein, a subcutaneous SLOW injection is suitable.
- The dropper solution should be cool, but not cold! In parallel with a dropper, it is advisable to start cooling the dog. For example, bottles of cold water that are applied to the groin and armpits of a dog with the least hair. You can wet the hair on the belly and put bottles on it - so the conductivity will be better.
- In any case, you will need the help of a veterinarian. Therefore, look for a car with air conditioning and take the dog to the vet clinic as soon as possible!
- Unfortunately, such a severe heat stroke is likely to have serious consequences for the health of your dog. And it will not be possible to overheat it throughout her life.
Please take care of your dogs!
PS Now many dogs are swimming. Friends, dogs are not born with the ability to swim! Dogs are Drowning. In my feed for this month only, reports of 5 drowned dogs.
If the dog began to beat with its front paws on the water, it means that its hind legs are not working, it is trying to "crawl out" and not swim out. At the same time spending a huge amount of energy. If you saw such a dog’s behavior when it practically in one place hits its front paws on the surface of the water - immediately save the dog!
If your dog is afraid of water or does not like it, is nervous during swimming and seeks to get out to land as soon as possible - make sure that the dog does not fall into deep water.
If she plunges headlong into the water, she will panic, most likely she will not be able to stay on the surface of the water and will quickly drown ((
Please teach your dogs not to be afraid of water and use your body well on water! This is not necessary to do it yourself - there are swimming pools for dogs and aqua trainers who are happy to teach your dog if you do not like to swim, then at least do it well. And they can provoke different situations - for example, waves, strong currents, splashes - with which the dog must be able to cope.
If there is a fast river / very deep pond with steep banks nearby or you are traveling with a dog on a boat - put on a special swimming vest on the dog. It could save her life.