Elderfox's Blog

Thoughts of an elder writer-in-progress

BEING ONE’S OWN SELF. . .TIMELY

on July 27, 2010

With the recent hot temperatures causing concerns, it is well for the dog owner to understand some of the factors that are involved in maintaining normal body temperatures for your dog. 

The rectal temp of the dog is about 101.5 F (38.6 C) and it can vary but when the temperature is higher or if it goes over 109 F the protein in cells is literally “cooked” and unless the temperature is quickly reduced, death is inevitable.

Heat loss in the dog is mostly by panting which increases the flow of air over saliva and fluids in the mouth and nose, however short nosed breeds—pugs, bulldogs, etc—have less surface for evaporation to take place and coupled with their problems in breathing makes them especially vulnerable to overheating.   High temperatures with high humidity are especially dangerous conditions for dogs.  If you are sweating while sitting watch your dog for overheating, and if the air is not moving—as  in a closed vehicle, or open bed of a truck, the dog will suffer tissue damage, kidney, liver or other organ damage, even irreversible brain damage, or death.  Dogs showing signs of distress may be wet down from a hose or wrapped in wet towels, or placed in a tub of water.  A spray bottle of cold water infused with medicinal alcohol can be sprayed on a dog’s belly; wrapping ice in a towel for the dog to lie on or near it in the shade. Cool water should also be available for drinking. In any case a dog that has overheated and showing signs of stress, should be taken immediately to a veterinarian.

 There are “cold coats” now available for dogs while waiting in hot weather at outdoor dog shows.

For especially hot humid days it is wise to not leave your dog unattended and to check with your Veterinarian or the Humane Society for other ways to protect your dog from serious damage.

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