Pups are even more prone to heat sensitivity than people are. The reasons for this are twofold: Panting is less effective at cooling the body than sweating, and most breeds have heavy coats that they can’t remove. Additionally, if you have a flat-faced breed, like a pug or bulldog, he may be more prone to overheating because there is less space in the area around the tongue and mouth, which is where dogs release heat. To keep your dog cool while traveling, take a water break every time you stop for food, gas or bathroom breaks. If you take your dog on an outdoor hike or walk, each time you take a water break, offer your pet some, too. It should also go without saying that you must never leave a dog in the car. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes; after 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Pets are in danger of heatstroke at 110 degrees.
Look for signs
Heavy or constant panting means that the heat is getting to your dog. Other symptoms to watch out for include a swollen neck, rapid pulse, dilated pupils, inflamed gums, weakness, unsteadiness and fearful, restless or out-of-control behavior.
If your dog shows symptoms of overheating, get him in the shade and hose him down with cool water. Give him water to drink as well, but begin with a small amount—a quarter cup for small dogs, two cups for larger breeds—and wait about 15 minutes before giving him any more to avoid overwhelming his vascular system. If your pet starts vomiting or has diarrhea, cool him with cold, wet towels or ice packs and rush him to the vet. There, they may flush him with IV fluids or even sedate him if he needs calming down.
Homeopathic pellets, found at most health food stores, can treat specific heatrelated symptoms: Belladonna is a commonly used heatstroke remedy that quickly brings down high temperatures; aconite is prescribed for restless or fearful behavior; lachesis is good for dogs who easily overheat. In each case, administer one or two pellets and wait at least 30 minutes. If no change occurs, repeat the dose and wait another 30 minutes. If there’s still no change after the second dose, seek medical attention. — Betsy Harrison, C.V.H., homeopath and D.V.M. graduate in Wimberley, Texas
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