Dogs and Extreme Heat Emergencies

More dogs are lost to heat-related situations than any other cause. Preventing these emergencies before going out to the field is key to keeping your dog out of trouble. When your dog begins to display signals of overheating, knowing what to do can be the difference between something alarming and a heartbreak.

  1. Being properly hydrated ahead of time is crucial. You should be giving your dog every chance that you can for them to drink lots of water early in the day. Also be sure that you are bringing as much water as you can with you, for however long you will be away from home. This alone may be all that you need to do. However, as things can still happen in extreme conditions, you need to be ready to handle it.
  2. Experts recommend carrying a thermometer in an emergency kit for your dog. If you suspect that your dog is in danger of overheating, taking his temperature is the first step in knowing what to do about it. Buying a fancy thermometer is not necessary. Simply pick up an inexpensive digital thermometer with a flexible tip that you only use for your dog, rectally.
  3. Should your dog be acting sluggish, it is possible that he could be running a fever of 107 degrees and is going into heat exhaustion. When assessing the situation, pay attention to the humidity. A dog would be doing better in a drier climate than in a humid one.
  4. Rubbing alcohol can save your dog’s life in conditions that are too hot and humid. This is because it serves two purposes in emergency situations. You can clean wounds and cool down your dog with rubbing alcohol. It can be poured behind the dogs ears, on his stomach and on the pads of his feet. It has the ability to cool down the dog faster than water does as it evaporates rapidly.

So what temperature is too high for your dog to have?

Any time that his temperature reaches over 102.5°, there is enough reason for you to become concerned and cool it down. However, even dogs that have a temperature of 106° or 106.5° may be able to cool down after a break with plenty of water and shade from the sun.

If you check your dog’s temperature and it is 106°, there is no reason to panic. You simply need to start cooling him down. You need to go ahead and retake his temperature every 3 to 5 minutes to see if it is going down at all. If 30 minutes have passed and your dog’s temperature isn’t below 103°, you need to take him to the animal hospital in a hurry. This is why it is so important to keep the thermometer with you, to check and see if your dog is mildly overheated or has full-on heat exhaustion that requires care from a professional.