Your dog has been cooped up in the house all day long, so when you come home and head out to your car for just a few minutes, he can’t help but follow you with his tail wagging. Once inside, however, things get much cooler which means that it’s harder than ever for him to keep himself from overheating.
Dogs don’t sweat like humans do, so instead of panting through their mouths, they tend to overheat by releasing excess body heat through their fur. When temperatures outside hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), these furry little critters start sweating buckets. In fact, some dogs will actually take off more weight during hot weather because they’re shedding so much water-rich perspiration.
This causes two problems: one, your pet doesn’t cool down as quickly as he heats up, and two, without any way to regulate his temperature, he’ll become dehydrated. Both can lead to serious health issues, including kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. Since most pets aren’t able to control their own internal thermostat, we’re going to talk about how to cool them down effectively.
First, let’s look at what happens to your dog’s temperature when it gets really hot. The human version of this is called hyperthermia, and it occurs when our core body temperature rises above 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees C).
This increases the work of our muscles and nervous system, making us feel weak and tired. Our bodies also release toxins from damaged cells as part of an immune response, causing further muscle cramps and dehydration. If left untreated, hyperthermia can even cause death. For your dog, excessive heat does exactly the same thing.
So what keeps your pet’s temperature regulated? It turns out that, unlike humans, dogs don’t have any …