A young woman is warning pet parents about the dangers of heat stroke after her dog died from a short walk, despite her thinking she had taken every precaution. Courtney and her family took her French Bulldog, Henry, out for a short walk with her other dog in the early evening on a warm day in Britain after it had cooled down a bit from the peak temperature of 85 degrees ºF (29 ºC).
“Before taking my dogs for a walk, we waited until the evening so it was much cooler than mid-day. We took a special doggy water bottle with an attachable bowl on it and even checked to see if the pavement was cool enough for Henry and Capone to walk on…. but even taking these precautions, it still didn’t help Henry,” Courtney wrote in her Facebook post that has since gone viral. Halfway through their walk Henry started panting, something he normally does because of his breed, but it got progressively worse.
“After having large drinks from his water, the panting only got worse, to the point where his chest was rattling, and he was plonking himself down in any shade he could find, refusing to move,” Courtney said.
They called for help, took him home and cooled him off with a hose and wet towels and then took him to the emergency vet hospital where they kept him overnight. But the heat stroke had taken hold, and despite the efforts of his family and veterinarians, Henry died. “In a matter of hours, I had lost my dopey, lovable little Henry,” wrote Courtney. “It was just still slightly too hot for his breed type.”
Courtney posted her sad story as a caution to help other pet parents be aware of the dangers of warm weather. It is an important reminder that dogs are more susceptible to warm weather than you might think.
Whether a dog is left inside a car or left outside, warm temperatures pose a danger. Even if a dog has a shady spot and water, if the temperature gets too warm a dog can still suffer from heat stroke and die.
Warm weather put a strain on a dog’s ability to regulate their internal temperature. As result, dogs can get heat exhaustion quickly, especially if walking or running.
So what are the danger signs a dog is suffering from too much heat?
A dog suffering heat exhaustion and on their way towards heat stroke will display some or all of the following symptoms:
- rapid panting
- bright red tongue
- red or pale gums
- bright red eyes
- thick, sticky saliva
- lethargy and weakness
- dizzy and staggering
What to do with a dog suffering from too much heat?
A heat-stricken dog can die in a matter of minutes, but immediate and proper care may save his life. If you suspect a dog is suffering from heat exhaustion:
- Immediately move him or her to a cool, shady area. Get them out of direct sunlight and into an air-conditioned space and if none is around, into a cool, shady area.
- Offer them water only if they are able to drink it. Don’t give them an unlimited supply of water (e.g. hose, river). Instead give them a little bit at a time. Ice cubes are good for this.
- Try to slowly lower the dog’s body temperature by placing him/her in cool, not cold, water. (cold or freezing water will shock their system). Use a sponge or damp cloth to apply cool water to the dog’s neck, head and groin to lower internal temperatures. Call a veterinarian immediately for further instructions and then get the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
How hot is too hot for a dog?
A dog’s normal body temperature is 99.5 ºF to 102.5 ºF (37.5 ºC to 39 ºC). At 105 ºF to 106 ºF (40.5 to 41 ºC), a dog is at risk for developing heat exhaustion. If their body temperature rises to 107 ºF (41.6 ºC), a dog enters the critical zone of heat stroke. With heat stroke, irreversible damage and death can occur.
Dogs that are overweight, have heart or lung diseases, or are snub nosed dogs (like bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos, Pugs, Shih Tzus, etc.) are at greater risk of overheating faster than other dogs.
Courtney shared her story in detail because she wants to save other pets. She wrote, “This is how horrible hot weather can affect your dogs; the nurse at the hospital told us that along with Henry, three other dogs have also passed away due to heatstroke, and many other dogs are currently being treated for it. All in one day. So, if another extremely hot day decides to grace us, please keep an extra eye on your dogs, especially if they are a bulldog breed, carry a little extra weight, and have breathing troubles.”
She added, “Even if this post manages to save even a handful of dogs, I’ll be so happy knowing Henry still helped, even if he’s not with us anymore,” she said. “PLEASE be more cautious in hot weather, even if you think it’s cooled down.”
*Important For All Dog Owners*
Since yesterday was such a glorious day, with the heat tipping at 30 degrees at one…
Share Courtney’s cautionary tale with the pet parents you know to help them keep their pets safe in warm weather and to know what to do if they see a dog suffering from too much heat.