If you have been reading our blog for any amount of time then you know how much we LOVE our Labradors. I take Baylee with me when ever I can. She rides with me in the air conditioned car all over town when I run errands during the day and she is happy to do so.
The other day we ran some errands and since our last one ended right near the rail trail I decided that we would take a walk. I had planned to do the walk before we left so I made sure I was prepared with Baylee's leash, water bowl and a gigantic water bottle full of water.
When we got to the trail I took a sip of water and then filled up her bowl and made her drink before we started walking. The weather was pretty cool with a breeze. The temperature was only in the 70's and there looked to be a storm cloud over head. I was hoping we would make it through the walk before it started to rain.
|This picture is when we first started out on the walk. We only walked on the pavement for a couple of yards. The rest of the trail is loose gravel, cracker dust, and dirt.|
The goal was to do one and a half miles up the rail trail and then turn around for a total of 3 miles. As we made the half way mark I realized that this was a STUPID plan. Just because I think walking 3 miles is a piece of cake doesn't mean Baylee was comfortable doing it. In fact, I could tell she was uncomfortable. She was hot, and she was panting. I should have been shot in the foot for thinking she could do this without me carrying a water bottle. What was I thinking? We took MANY stop breaks on the way back. We would sit in the shade a while and then walk a bit more. I knew it would be nothing for me to run the rest of the way back to the car and get the water and then return to her. I debated in my mind for a moment if that was something I should do. Would she just sit here and wait for me to come back? Should I tie her up somewhere and then come back for her? I didn't think either option was good as I didn't want her to be scared.
As we continued I could tell she was getting weak and it was breaking my heart. I can't believe I was this stupid to be putting her through this. I considered asking the next person walking on the trail to stay with her while I ran to get the water but I wasn't feeling the warm fuzzies from the next two people we passed. I has hoping for a young runner girl or a grandma type.
I finally got Baylee back to the car and she layed down immediately. I filled her dish and put water on her head, neck, and paws. I did a quick google search to see what to do if your dog is having a heat stroke. I was hoping she was just hot and that it was nothing too serious but of course every time I look anything up on Google I think the worst.
I got Baylee home and got her cooled off. (No, I did not let her jump in the pool. That and giving your dog ice cubes is a bad thing to do if indeed your dog is suffering from heat stroke). I think she would have been too weak to swim anyway. As suggested on many of the pet sites I consulted, I took her temperature (or should I say I invited my mother over to take her temperature. It's a good thing my mom has a background as a vet tech). Thank goodness her temperature was normal and did not fall into the range of concern. If you are wondering, the range of concern is 103-105 F. Normal is about 100-101 which Baylee's was.
I may have over reacted but I have every reason to be concerned. Heat stroke can effect your dog's organs and Baylee already has issues in that area (not from heat stroke though).
I don't think she displayed any of the other symptoms so I am hoping she was just really hot and a bit exhausted and that was all. I stayed home the rest of the day/evening to keep an eye on her.
The next morning we both woke up and I took her outside. She could barely walk. She was very unsteady on her feet and kept sitting down. NOW I was scared.
She came in and lay down and I tried to play ball with her. When I would tap her right paw, she would move it away. That was a good sign I thought. But when I would tap her left side she was unresponsive. I thought for sure she had a stroke. I know that she has a bit of arthritis and thought maybe that had flared up so I tried to massage her legs and joints. Emotionally I was a mess as I am thinking I've damaged my sweet girl. I immediately called the Vet and eventually they agreed to see her after lunch.
When the vet saw us, she checked all Baylee's vital signs and she was okay. She looked at Baylee's paws and there layed the problem. Her paw pads were all cut up and blistered pretty bad. I had no idea! That explains why she was struggling to walk. It was NOT too hot outside and she was NOT dehydrated. It was her paws that were hurting. The vet asked me where exactly we were walking and I told her. She then told me that Baylee was not the first dog she had seen that week for this very reason. In fact, she saw a Boxer that came in with blisters all over his paws from walking on the exact same trail. This made the vet curious as to what was going on. The Boxer's condition was so bad that he had to be put under anesthesia to have his paws taken care of. Fortunately we did not have to put Baylee under. I held her up on the table as the vet trimmed all her paw pads up and did what she needed to do. Baylee was SO good the entire time!
The end result was Baylee being able to walk with four bandages on her paws.
So in the end I was relieved to find out that Baylee was not effected by the heat and although her paws were hurt, I was relieved to know that it was something that could easily be fixed.
Isn't she too cute?
When you are walking your dog this summer, keep in mind that the pavement or gravel may be hot on their feet. In our case, we were not on the pavement long and the trail did not seem to be hot.
Carry water for your dog no matter what the distance.
If they are indeed suffering from heat stroke one sign is that they will be drooling excessively. When you try to give them water they will not drink. They will have a temperature between 103-105. They may also vomit and have diarrhea. Fortunately Baylee did not have any of these symptoms but because she was excessively panting and not wanting to walk (and then being very unsteady on her feet) I of course had reason to be concerned.
If you read to the end of this, Thank You. I know this is longer than our normal posts.
Have you ever had a mishap with your pet? -M