By Frania Shelley-Grielen. All rights reserved.

Temperatures in New York City and around the country are hitting record degrees in Summer. This is prime heatstroke season for human and non-human animals. Air conditioning, low levels of exertion and water are necessary. Exercise extreme caution with older, younger or infirm dogs. Certain dog breeds are more stressed by heat due to their physiognomy or facial features. Dogs such as bull-dogs, french bull dogs, pugs, etc., are brachycephalic (short-face or short head) breeds. This ' means their breathing passages are compacted resulting in some level of respiratory difficulty. These breeds have to work harder to breathe and tend to pant more even in mild temperatures.

You know that keeping your dog as cool as possible is a priority right now which means shorter walks on the shady side of the street, carrying water and a bowl to offer your dog a drink before they look like they need one when outside and lots of AC inside.

Remember, dogs do not have sweat glands and can only release moisture through the pads of their feet and nose. Dogs will cool themselves through panting which is most effective when a dog is well hydrated and in a cooler space offering some relief. Watch your dog to see when they start to pant and pay attention to that tongue, when you start to see it hanging out, it's definitely time for a drink of water and a break in the shade. Think as much shade as possible when outside, even if it's waiting for a light, choose the corner with the most shade and let puppy wait where some shade is offered. Terribly hot asphalt and a little dog? Pick them up crossing the street to spare sensitive paw pads and cross as quickly as possible with larger breeds. Do know that as much as we want them with us all the time, leaving them even for a minute in a hot car or tied outside can be truly dangerous. When it's this hot out, leaving puppy behind in the air conditioning at home is the better way to show your love.

Having said all that you should know what to look for and do if you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke. Time is critical in when responding. Mike Richards, DVM writing on lists the following symptoms: “heavy panting, hyperventilation (deep breathing), increased salivation early then dry gums as the heat prostration progresses, weakness, confusion or inattention, vomiting and diarrhea and sometimes bleeding. As the condition progresses towards heat prostration or heat stroke there may be obvious paleness or graying to the gums.”

If you believe your dog is experiencing heatstroke act as quickly as possible. The dog should be cooled with cool or tepid water or placed in a cool bath. If access to a bath is not possible, wet the dog down using as much water as possible a garden hose is ideal, you can also place water soaked towels and/or pour bottles of water, focusing on the armpit areas, the abdomen and the area next to the rear legs which are close to the body. Use a fan aimed at the dog to maximize the cooling process. Driving with the windows open and a wet dog will also help to cool the dog.

The dog should be taken for veterinary attention as quickly as possible. An article by veterinarians Flournoy, Macintire and Whol on Heatstroke in Dogs in Compendium notes that studies have been done which “showed a mortality rate of 49% for dogs that were not cooled by their owners versus 19% for those that were cooled before being transported to their veterinarian.”

Heatstroke is a dangerous disease which can be fatal. The proper steps in caring for a dog suffering from heatstroke can make all the difference.

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