By Caitlin Kelly
Sometimes, as a journalist, I get to write a story I know is going to help a lot of people.
This is one.
I discovered the story when I recently read a friend’s status update on Facebook; their beloved terrier had almost died of heatstroke. Not, as everyone knows now, locked inside a car.
Out walking, or hiking, or running.
The world is hotter than ever; temperatures today in California are up to 105 Fahrenheit.
And our dogs want to keep us happy — they won’t stop running, even panting so hard they might burst — until they’re in very rough condition. By then it can be too late, and they’re already in organ failure, sometimes soon to die.
Dogs are dying of heatstroke. The symptoms are easy to miss.
Please make time to read my story and tweet/reblog this one.
Here’s an excerpt from it:
While no statistics are available on the number of dogs that are injured or die from heatstroke, vets agree that paying careful attention to your dog’s behavior while exercising with them outdoors, especially in high heat and humidity, is essential.
Unlike humans, who sweat and cool down as the sweat evaporates, dogs shed excessive body heat primarily through their mouths.
“The main way that dogs lose heat is through evaporation through their tongues and their respiratory tract,” said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the animal behavior clinic and a professor of veterinary medicine at Tufts University. “If it’s hot and humid outside, that really limits the dog’s ability to lose heat by its primary mechanism. Then if you add running in the heat and humidity on top of that, between the temperature gradient, humidity and the heat they’re generating as they run, they end up having more heat inside than they can lose.”
As a dog’s body temperature rises to dangerous levels, though, the signs can be easy to miss, he warned. Its temperature can “suddenly take off,” rising rapidly to 105, at which point multiple organs are rapidly failing.
Jose and I don’t have a dog at the moment, but if and when we do, we’ll be much wiser about worrisome signs of heatstroke.
Let’s save some dogs!