Ask Dr. Dolamore 4-27-10 |

Ask Dr. Dolamore 4-27-10

Dr. Karen-Jo Dolamore
special to the daily

Dear Dr. Dolamore, with warmer days ahead, the perennial concern of seeing dogs left in vehicles without adequate ventilation is upon us. Perhaps you might incorporate this message into one of your columns.

NM, Silverthorne

Yes, it’s very hard to ignore your dog’s eager look as you pull out the keys for that quick run to the store. But be very careful, because when it’s warm outside, even if you park in the shade and there’s a nice breeze blowing outside, the temperature inside a car can shoot up to dangerous levels within minutes even with the windows cracked. The problem is that dogs cannot perspire to cool themselves. Panting is the most effective means they have to help them to maintain their normal body temperature. Obese and short-nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs are even more sensitive to heat. When humidity and temperature exceed the point at which this cooling mechanism can control body temperature, heat stress or even heat stroke is the result. Signs of heat stress include heavy panting and salivation. Additional symptoms such as glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, weakness, or wobbly gait, disorientation, vomiting and a deep red or purple tongue, gums or ears are indications of life threatening heat stroke.

Overheating can also occur with hiking or other vigorous summertime activities.

If your pet becomes overheated, you must lower the body temperature immediately: Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water all over to gradually lower the body temperature. You can put ice on the head and neck, and cool towels on the belly. Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. And most importantly, take your pet directly to a veterinarian. Life- threatening effects of heat stroke can come hours later even after your dog seems better.

Send your pet health and wellness questions to:

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