The Normal temperature for a dog is in the ranges of between 101 -103, anything higher than 103.5 can lead to hypothermia and may lead to heat exhaustion. As a pet owner, you know that a dog does not have sweat glands. They are not like cats who sweat through their toes. The question goes back to you, how do you tell if your dog is starting to get overheated?
For a long time, people have associated heat stroke with pets left in the car on a hot day; the truth of the matter is that heat stroke can also hit you in your backyard. In the summer, humidity plays a significant role in determining the right temperature for your dog.
Age, obesity, and breed of the dog are other factors that should guide you on how to handle the pet as the temperature rises. Old dogs who cannot move around the home with ease may have problems when trying to move out of the scorching heat.
Dogs with short snouts such as pugs and Boston terriers are prone to heat risks because they are not efficient in cooling air during breathing something the long-nosed dogs do with ease. If you are reading chart information to follow through to get the right temperature, do not use the same chart data to determine if a dog can stay inside the car in warm weather. The temperature inside the vehicle is not the same as what you have in your backyard.
Defining Heat Stroke in Pets
In the world of pets, heat stroke is a life-threatening condition where the hypothalamus (responsible for regulating normal body temperature) loses its ability to control the body’s temperature. Dogs’ average temperature is between the ranges of 100.5 and 102.5 Fahrenheit. During a heat stroke, the temperature goes up to 106 degrees or higher. The change in temperature from normal to high takes less than 15 minutes.
The effects of heat stroke damages cells in the brain, kidneys, liver, digestive tract leading to organ failure and in some cases leads to a fatality.
How will you know if the temperature is too hot for the dog? Here are some signs that you should be looking for:
- Your pet attempts to cool off which is characterized by difficulty in breathing rapidly
- Heavy drooling by dropping thick saliva
- Blood spots present in the dogs vomit
- The tongue and gums show a bright red mucous membrane
- The mucous membrane can quickly change from pale or acquire a bluish tinge as the dog’s condition worsens
- You will notice an unusual stagger or gait
- The dog will drink too much water due to excessive thirst
- The dog will appear lethargic
- Rapid heart beat
- Collapsing or seizure
What you need to do to Protect Your Pets from the Heat?
- Walk or exercise the pets during the coolest parts of the day, especially early in the morning or late evening when the weather is cool
- If the weather is too hot, try using a cool body wrap or vest.
- Keep the animals in the shade within the yard during peak hours
- Use an air conditioner to create a cool ambience in the house
What are Factors that Affect the Ideal Temperature of a Dog?
You may not find a perfect factor that if set the ideal temperature suitable for a dog is found. Before you decide whether the dog you have can survive in the environment you live in to consider the following:
Dogs with thick coats tend to be more tolerant to cold and therefore tend to overheat faster than humans do. The ones with thin skins and short fur may not have the capacity to retain body heat and are suitable in warmer temperatures.
Size of the Dog
Smaller dogs have a high surface area to volume ratio meaning that the skin area exposed to lose heat is relative to the size of the animal. Surface area to volume ration explains why small dogs lose heat faster than the large breeds.
Body weight has body fat as a contributing factor. Overweight dogs have thicker insulating layer protecting against cold and harsh weather. However, the health risks because of obesity may outweigh the expected warmth in cold seasons. The bottom line is to keep your pet lean and fit.
Age and Health
The old dogs and the puppies are the most vulnerable and need warmer environments. The health of the dog may also influence the temperature that is not too hot for the dog inside a house.
What Temperature is best for Dogs at Home?
Here are some recommendations that set the ideal temperature for you and your pet
During the summer
Setting the thermostat temperature between 75 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for most dog breeds. The large dogs such as Husky or Samoyed should have the temperature set at 75 degrees. Dogs with short hair can work with 78 degrees.
During the winter
As the winter sets in, prepare to have the thermostat read above 60 degrees. Smaller breeds, the young or sick animals should have an additional warm bed to maintain body temperature.
We already know the protecting your dog from heat stroke or frostbite is better than dealing with it. The best thing to do is to make sure you have shaded areas and cool places within the yard that the dogs can rest when the temperature increases. Place plenty of cool water within the compound for drinking or bathing is encouraged. Make sure the water spots are not deep enough to drown your dog. When leaving the house, you are advised to leave the pets at home to avoid a scenario where you leave the dog in the car in sweltering heat.
Summertime is that time of the year for carefree and endless fun. The last thing you want to do is to rush your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic to address heat stroke. Unless you are confident of your dog’s tolerance to heat, make sure someone if not you are looking after him when you are away from home.