Contrary to what most people believe, dogs overheat more quickly than humans do. They wear their fur coat all year long and they do not sweat. They cool their bodies by panting, or blowing out heat, which is much less effective than sweating. Even if you are comfortable, your dog may be too hot!

What happens in heat stroke?

Heat stroke happens when heat gain exceeds the body's ability to dissipate heat. High temperatures cause chemical reactions that break down body cells which lead to dehydration and blood thickening. This puts extreme strain on the heart and causes blood clotting and subsequent death to tissue. Liver, brain and intestinal cells are usually the first to be affected and this can occur quickly. Normal body temperature for a dog is about 101 F to 102 F. If his temperature reaches 106 F, he is in danger of brain damage, vital organ failure and death. Reducing body temp quickly is imperative. A dog who recovers can still have organ damage and lifelong health problems. Temperatures above 106 F are extremely dangerous.

SymptomsHeat stroke is deadly! Heat stroke is an emergency! Cool the dog, in whatever way you can and get him to a veterinarian immediately! Hose him off, immerse him in cool (not cold) water, use fans, take him to air conditioning, or sponge the groin area, tummy area, wet his tongue, place rolled up wet towels against his head, neck, tummy, and between his legs. When his temperature drops to 104 F or 103 F, stop cooling efforts. Cooling too fast or too much can cause other problems.If the dog's temperature is still high when he reaches the vet's office, they may give a cool water enema, cool water gastric lavage (rinse the stomach), and IV fluids, and draw blood samples. The dog will be monitored for shock, kidney failure, heart abnormalities, respiratory stress, and blood clotting time. The dog may be given oxygen, dextrose, cortisone, antihistamines, anticoagulants, or antibiotics. Once he is stabilized, he may require follow up treatment.Never, ever leave your dog in a parked car! Not even for a few minutes! Heat inside a parked car can build, in just a few short minutes, to as much as 40 degrees above the outside temperature. For instance, on an 80 F day, temperatures in a parked car can reach 120 F in as little as ten minutes, especially if the car is in the sun. Leaving the windows cracked helps very little and that's only IF there's a breeze. Factor in humidity and the dog doesn't have a snowball's chance!For outside dogs, provide shade, ventilation, wading pool, and cool drinking water. Keep in mind that shade moves as the earth rotates.Make sure water containers are large enough to supply water at all times and secure so they cannot be turned over.Make sure that tied dogs cannot wind their tether around something, preventing thermal comfort access to water. Caution: Chains will wrap around themselves and shorten when the dog runs in circles.Crate only in a wire crate.Clip heavy coated dogs to a one inch length. Leave one inch for insulation, and protection against sunburn.Allow dogs unaccustomed to warm weather, several days to acclimate.Do not exercise your dog on hot days.Take precautions for high-risk dogs when the heat index reaches 75 F.The single most frequent cause for heat stroke in dogs is overheating in a parked car. If this article accomplishes nothing else, I hope it educates readers on the importance of leaving Buddy home, not only on hot days but on warm days as well. Heatstroke and High Risk Dogs Homemade Frozen Dog Treats Boston Terrier Breed Profile

As the summer heats up, air conditioners will be cranking up to full blast in office buildings and homes to keep people cool. They provide welcome relief from sweltering weather and an obvious solution to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths. But AC systems themselves can lead to health problems if not cleaned and maintained properly.

Here's what you need to know about the health pros and cons of air conditioners and how to use them safely:

Pro: Reducing heat stroke

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death," a problem that claims hundreds of lives in the U.S. each year. People who are most vulnerable to heat-related illness are children under the age of 4, adults over the age of 65, people who are overweight and those who are sick or on certain medications.

To help reduce the risk, doctors recommended drinking lots of water during the summer and staying in air conditioned areas during the hottest part of the day.

Con: Bacteria, mold and fungus

Air conditioners can be a breeding ground for the growth of bacteria and fungus. Moisture can accumulate in the coils and fan blades from condensation that forms when cold air circulates through the appliance. If left unchecked, things like mold and fungus can build up and get blown out    schedule into the air.

These microorganisms can lead to a number of breathing problems including pneumonia and Legionnaire's disease, a severe inflammation of the lungs caused by bacteria known as legionella.

To keep airborne mold particles to a minimum, keep humidity in the home between 35 and 50 percent (in hot, humid climates, an air conditioner or dehumidifier might be necessary). Fix water leaks. They can promote the growth of mold behind walls and under floors.


Pro: Easing allergies and asthma

For people with allergies or asthma, research shows that air conditioning can help ward off attacks. According to the Mayo Clinic, air conditioning can help filter out airborne pollen from trees, grasses and weeds to keep it from circulating indoors. Air conditioners also lower indoor humidity, which decreases the growth of dust mites and mold.

Con: Sick building syndrome

Air conditioners can contribute to sick building syndrome, a variety of conditions that are brought on by time spent in certain indoor environments. Symptoms may include dizziness, dry throat, itchy eyes and nausea. A study in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that "air conditioned buildings generally have a higher prevalence of symptomatic workers than naturally ventilated buildings." One small study found that HEPA and carbon air filtration systems may help reduce symptoms and improve productivity.

Clean air advice

To ensure that your air conditioner keeps you cool and healthy this summer, make sure you regularly clean or change your air filter. Check that exhaust fans are working properly. And never store paints, cleaners, or other chemicals near your air conditioning, heating or ventilation system, as it can spread dangerous fumes throughout the house.

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