When you are a pet owner, hot weather requires a few adjustments. It’s important to know that heat stroke in dogs can strike more quickly than you might imagine.
Rather than sweating through the skin as humans do, dogs sweat through their foot pads and by panting. If they can’t release heat quickly enough to keep their internal temperature from rising, heat stroke can quickly lead to irreparable harm and even death.
Avoiding Heat Stroke
Take some basic precautions this summer to protect your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel against heat stroke. Restrict outdoor exercise to the early morning and late evenings when temperatures are cooler. Carry water with you. Watch your Cavalier Spaniel for signs that he is slowing down, panting heavily and becoming overheated. Stop and take a water break in the shade. Then, head for home as soon as your dog is rested.
Needless to say, dogs kept out of doors need plenty of shade and fresh water. Get out that kiddie pool and let your pet take a swim to cool off. And in unusually high heat, check the outside temperature in your dog’s shaded area – it might still be 80 degrees in the shade and that’s too hot to leave him outdoors. Even if you’re not home during the day, most of us can find an air-conditioned “doggie daycare” facility near our homes.
Never, never, never leave your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel unattended in a parked car. Even with the windows slightly opened and parked in the shade, the internal temperature of your car can heat up very quickly and be fatal to your dog before you know it. Your pet can die in less than 10 minutes, so don’t take a chance by leaving him in a car alone.
If you are planning a long car trip with your Cavalier Spaniel, consider buying window shades for the back seat windows to help keep sunlight off your dog. Sometimes drinking too much water can upset a dog’s stomach when you’re traveling. An alternative is to bring along some ice cubes to help cool your pet more slowly.
Recognizing and Treating Heat Stroke
How do you recognize heat stroke in your pet? Obvious signs are heavy panting, weakness and stumbling. A heat stroke victim will eventually collapse and fall unconscious. Heat stroke can raise your Cavalier Spaniel’s body temperature to the point where a chemical reaction results that actually breaks down cells in your dog’s body.
If you keep a rectal thermometer in your emergency first aid kit (and you should!), take your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s temperature. If’s it’s approaching 104 degrees, call your veterinarian. Over 104 degrees requires immediate action because if your pet’s internal temperature reaches 106 degree, the damage may be irreversible.
In the meantime, put your pet in a cool bath, or at least sponge him off, paying special attention to wetting down his belly and inside of his legs. When your dog’s temperature drops to 103 or 104 degrees, you should remove him from the bath to avoid bringing his temperature down too quickly. Hopefully, by this time, you’ve reached your vet. If not, head for the closest emergency clinic.
Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy our four legged friends, and a few common sense measures will go along way toward proper pet care and prevention of heat stroke.