The Effects of Humidity on Your Dog
When the mercury starts to rise, you’ll also want to watch the spike in humidity in the atmospheric conditions. The effects of humidity on your dog can come on rapidly. A canine’s temperature should never top 104 degrees Fahrenheit or the animal faces the very real (and often life threatening) condition known as ‘heat stroke’.
Temperature and the Heat Index
Remember, just because your thermometer says it is only 78 degrees F. outdoors does not mean that is the actual ‘feels’ like temperature. The amount of water vapor in the air (known as humidity) dictates the feels like temperature. When the humidity increases, the weather feels much warmer than it actually is and the danger to your dog escalates substantially. An example of the heat index is if the temperature is 90 degrees F., and the relative humidity is at 70 percent then the heat index will quickly hit 105 degrees F. Simply checking the temperature is not enough to keep your dog safe from heat stroke. You must always factor in the humidity to determine the true heat index.
Watch for the Effects of Humidity on Your Dog
You are probably keeping an eye on the ambient temperature, but humidity can also impact your pet substantially. A dog pants to release moisture for the animal’s lungs. The process removes heat away from the body’s core. However, if the humidity is too high then your dog cannot cool itself using this process and its temperature will start to spike to dangerous levels.
If your dog starts to exhibit the following signs of heat stroke, then you must seek medical care immediately:
- Heavy panting
- Rapid heartbeat
- Excessive thirst
- Glazed eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Poor coordination
- Excessive salivation
- Dark red or violet tongue
If you suspect that your pet is having a heat stroke, then move the animal into the shade or bring the pet inside an air conditioned space. Apply cold towels and ice packs to the dog’s head, neck, or chest. You can also try to run cool water over them. Allow the animal to drink small amounts of cool water or place ice chips on the dog’s tongue. Seek emergency medical care immediately.
Keeping Your Dog Cool in Humid Weather
You should keep your dog indoors in a cool location of the home when it’s extremely hot and humid outdoors. If you do not have air conditioning in your house, then use fans to bring down the temperature. Always make sure that your dog has access to fresh water at all times.
If you cannot bring the indoor temperature down enough to make your dog comfortable then you might want to soak a towel or blanket in cool water and wrap the dog’s body to help bring the animal’s temperature down. You can also give Fido a cool bath or shower.
Always limit exercise on hot and humid days. Avoid going outdoors mid-day when the temperature and humidity are at their highest. When you do take your dog out to relieve himself, find a shady location where the pet is not in the direct sunlight.