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Heat and dogs: Prevent heat-related illnesses

Dogs are normally great friends and protectors. They enjoy being with people, and when treated correctly, are typically harmless to those around them.

The spring and summer in Hackensack pose a unique threat to these pets, though, as the temperatures increase. When animals because uncomfortable, you should also be aware that their temperament may change. A dog that was once happy to play may now not want you to touch them as a result of being overheated.

Sickness is one thing that can turn a happy pet into a growling, nippy pet in just a few short minutes. To help prevent injuries, here are a few ways to tell if your pet, or someone else's, is unwell or needs medical help.

Understand heat and dogs

The first thing you should know is that dogs typically cannot withstand the same kinds of temperatures as humans. They have few sweat glands, and they can become overheated if they have no way to cool themselves.

If you see a stray dog or a neighbor's dog panting on a hot day, they're trying to cool themselves. This is the point when it's best to offer water and shade, so the dog can cool down and you can prevent it from becoming ill or aggressive.

What happens when a dog's body overheats?

As the dog's body overheats, it may struggle to see, stay standing or hear correctly. Like humans, dogs can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you see a dog collapse from the heat and intend to help it, you should take precautions. Dogs that are fearful of being approached may still attempt to bite or protect themselves, especially if they are unwell.

In this type of emergency, the dog needs to get medical care. People who want to help can wear long sleeves and other protective gear while using a blanket to secure the pet and get it into a cool area, like an air-conditioned vehicle. To prevent attacks on the way to the vet, it's best to place the dog in the back seat of the vehicle and to restrain it, either with a leash or harness.

While many animals that are sick from heat pass out or become lethargic, others become aggressive and threatening to those around them. Call 911 if you see an aggressive or sick dog, so that the police and animal control can step in to help.

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