Veterinarians remind dog owners about dangers of heatstroke

Flat-faced dogs are much more susceptible to heatstroke.

Dogs are at risk to heatstroke during the summer days of extremely hot weather. (Photo courtesy of Dog Heirs)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – With the most recent heat wave that has swept through Western Massachusetts, everyone is vulnerable to the dangers of heatstroke, including man’s best friend; dogs.

An article published by the website Doctors Foster and Smith lists off a number of signs of heatstroke for dogs, which include increased heart rate, excessive panting, increased salivation, bright read tongue, dizziness, diarrhea, depression, and more.

There are several ways to tell if your dog may be suffering from heatstroke, but what are the best and simplest ways to prevent it from happening?

A couple local veterinarians spoke to the Westfield News and were able to provide the best options possible.

“We always tell them (pet owners) to exercise (their dog(s) in the morning or evening,” said Dr. Hazel Holman of Blandford Animal Hospital.

As Holman certainly doesn’t recommend that dogs exercise in the afternoon during extreme heat, an unfortunate incident occurred on Thursday night where a dog passed away at Blandford Animal Hospital, due to heat exhaustion from exercising too much outside.

If people do put their dog outside for any period of time in the hot weather, keeping the dog hydrated is crucial.

“Be sure there’s a cool, shady spot they can rest in with plenty of cool fresh water available,” said Dr. Jo-Anne Leja of Pet House Calls in Westfield. “Some dogs enjoy having their own “kiddie pool” to cool off in.”

Although all dogs are at risk of heatstroke, both Dr. Holman and Dr. Leja said that flat-faced dogs are much more susceptible to heatstroke. These types of canines have obstructed airways, so therefore they can’t take in as much air. Dr. Leja also said that “short-nosed snorters” like pugs, shih tzus, Pekinese, and bulldogs are more at risk for respiratory disease in the heat.

According to veterinarians, one of the biggest ways to prevent heatstroke is to never ever leave a dog in a vehicle in the heat. Pet owners have been seen cracking the windows of the car, but Dr. Leja wants the public to realize how little of an effect that has on keeping the dog cool.

“Open windows make no difference,” said Leja. “On a 95 degree day, interior car temperatures reach 114 degrees in 10 minutes, even on an 80 degree day, we may think it’s nice outdoors but the inside of the car reaches 99 degrees in 10 minutes, don’t risk your pet’s life.”

For further information or questions about the dangers for heatstroke for dogs, call Blandford Animal Hospital at 413-848-2057 and Pet House Calls at 413-562-1551.

Copyright 2017 The Westfield News

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