Keep Your Dog Safe from Heat Stroke

Keep Your Dog Safe from Heat Stroke

Summer is the best time to be outdoors and enjoy the weather, but there are some things that could be dangerous this time of year, especially for our furry friends.
STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - Summer is the best time to be outdoors and enjoy the weather, but there are some things that could be dangerous about this time of year, especially for our furry friends.

We're talking about heat strokes in dogs.

We talk all the time about not leaving your dogs in hot cars, but just leaving them outside for a period of time during the summer can lead to serious health problems, too.

Just about anywhere you go this summer, you'll probably see dogs and their owners getting some exercise.

Take Karen Peters and Khloe and Bubba for example.

"It's a nice time to get them out and run them," Peters said. "We have a fenced in yard at home, but it's not long enough for them to run."

These playful pups love to play fetch, but Peters monitors their fun very closely.

"Once we see that they're starting to lay down, we leave them laying down," she said. "We don't push them. We sort of let them go at their own pace."

Dr. Fred Metzger, of Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, said dogs playing outside in hot weather can be a deadly combination, if you're not careful.

When humans overheat, our bodies sweat to cool down. Dogs are only able to sweat through their paws, so cooling down is harder for them to do, especially if they're on hot pavement or asphalt.

"Dogs are going to pant really hard," Dr. Metzger said. "If you look at dogs, especially a lab, their tongue gets giant. That's because their blood vessels are dilating to try to get rid of heat."

These are just a few signs of heat stroke. Others include an increased heart rate, thick, drooling saliva and vomiting.

Dr. Metzger said dogs may collapse and be unable to move and in some extreme cases, become comatose and die.

"You can see it in their eyes," Peters said. "Their eyes will get almost glassy and watery. Dogs want to please you so much that they'll just keep playing, regardless of how they feel."

Peters keeps Bubba and Khloe hydrated, too.

Dr. Metzger also suggests spraying your dog with a hose to cool them down and keeping them in air conditioning so they can breath in cool air and lower their body temperature.

Make sure you pay attention to the time of day you're taking your dog out to play. The coolest times are in the morning before the sun comes up and at night after the sun sets.

To learn more about dogs and heat strokes, visit the Metzger Animal Hospital website.
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