Our pets enjoy the Caribbean lifestyle just as much as we do, but the high temperatures recently recorded in Puerto Rico, particularly in the summer, can have negative effects on them. Dogs have a normal body temperature that fluctuates between 100.5 and 103 F (38 and 39.4 C). Contrary to humans, which use sweating as a mechanism to regulate our body temperature, dogs use panting to liberate the excess of heat and lower their temperature. In this season of extreme heat, avoiding drastic body temperature increases in our dogs is very important because if we don’t, they could suffer a heatstroke.
A heatstroke is what happens when the dog’s body temperature surpasses the 105 F (40.5 C). This happens when they find themselves in very hot environments and no access to shade or inside a car. In places like Puerto Rico, heatstroke can occur very rapidly, meaning that keeping an eye on your puppies is extremely important, especially those with short snouts or those who are overweight, since they are the ones who are most vulnerable to these types of episodes.
During a heatstroke dogs appear weak, they pant excessively, their pulse goes up, they start shaking, which could be confused with convulsions, and in many cases they vomit and even collapse. If their temperature goes up excessively and is not controlled in time, their organs start to fail and in the worst case scenario they could die.
To avoid heatstroke in your pet this summer ,you must be sure to always have fresh water available to drink and a place with shade so they can hide from the sun. You should never leave them unattended and definitely never inside the car. If you take them to the park, beach or any other place that is out in the open, it is important that you give them time to rest and are aware of any changes in behavior that could indicate something is wrong.
Just like us, our pets love the tropical life. Protect and take care of them so they can continue to enjoy the sun, beach and our beautiful island.