I know there are a lot of warnings out there about keeping your pets safe in this heat, and one of the big focuses is not leaving your pets in the car, but keep in mind just walking your dog at the wrong time of day can be dangerous too. Unfortunately, I know two people who have almost lost their dogs just this weekend from heat stroke. Neither of them was doing anything that would be a red flag to me. With the rising heat however, the play time or walk your dog is use to could cause major organ damage or even be deadly. I personally did not know what the signs of heat stroke are, so I thought for my own education, and yours, I'd share with you.
Signs of Heat Stroke
Pale gums, bright red tongue;
Disorientation and your dog doesn't respond to his name;
Increased heart rate;
What to do if you think your dog may have heat stroke
Make sure your dog is out of the sun and has access to water but don't let him drink too much.
Cool him with cool/tepid water - either immerse him in a bath, gently hose him or apply cool towels to his body. Importantly do not leave wet towels on your dog and do not use very cold water - both prevent your dog form being able to cool himself.
Move your dog to an area where there is cool air circulating, such as an air conditioned room or stand him in front of a fan. The cool circulating air will help your dog to reduce his temperature.
Keep monitoring your dog's temperature with a rectal thermometer; once it returns to normal (approx 101F) stop the cooling process.
Whilst you are cooling your dog down phone your local emergency dog clinic, explain the situation and perform any additional treatment they suggest before taking him to the clinic.
Even if you manage to reduce your dog's temperature at home, take him to your vet for a thorough checkup - internal damage to your dog's organs might have taken place even though he recovered from heat stroke.
Preventing Heat Stroke
Be aware that the outside temperature can be a lot warmer than that shown on your thermometer -on humid days the relative temperature is much higher;
Dogs really don't know when to stop - try and keep your dog's activity to a minimum particularly on hot and humid days;
Exercise your dog early in the morning and/or later in the evening when the temperature is cooler;
If possible keep your dog indoors during the heat of the day in a well ventilated or air conditioned room; and
If your dog is outside during the day, make sure there is plenty of shady areas for him to lie in and he has access to cold water. If he likes water, put a paddling pool of water for him in a shady part of the garden so he can lie in that to keep cool, otherwise periodically spray him with cool water.
Please, please, please keep your pups safe! I would hate to think that there are dogs out there suffering simply because their owners don't know what to look for!