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It’s officially summer and for many of us, that means lots of outdoor adventures with our dogs! As the summer temps start to rise though, so does the risk of canine heat rash. Just like in people, heat rash can occur in dogs and is very uncomfortable (even painful) for them. But how do you know if your dog has heat rash? And how can you prevent them from getting it? At East Valley Animal Hospital we know that the Arizona heat can be hard on our pets. Here’s how to tell whether or not your dog may have a heat rash and what to do about it. 

What are the symptoms of a dog heat rash?

A heat rash can be tricky to diagnose; especially since the symptoms of a dog heat rash can appear similar to other kinds of skin irritations. If your dog has been spending a lot of time outside in the hot sun, dog heat rash is something that should be on your radar. Dogs who are overweight or have skin wrinkles and rolls are extra sensitive to dog heat rash. After spending time outside in the heat, it’s a good idea to check your dog for any signs of heat rash. 

Here are a few ways to identify dog heat rash:

  • Continuous scratching and licking  
  • Itchy and irritated skin
  • Tender and red skin in a concentrated area (typically near, or under skin folds)
  • Boils or small pimples in a concentrated area
  • Scabs and sores

What should I do if I suspect my dog has a heat rash?

While it can be tempting to try and treat dog heat rash at home, stretching the period of time between the initial development of the rash and its treatment could result in greater discomfort and potential harm. Even though heat rash typically begins as minor skin irritation, it can quickly transform into oozing and foul-smelling boils or pimples. And in some cases, these areas can become infected with the Staphylococcus pathogen, which poses an even greater risk to your dog.

That’s why we highly recommend taking your dog to your local vet as soon as possible. Allow them to make a proper diagnosis and provide the correct treatment for the rash. However, if you’re unable to immediately take your dog to the vet, it’s important to keep him in a cool, dry environment. To help with redness and irritation, you can place a cold, damp cloth over the affected area.

How can I avoid heat rash and other heat-related Illnesses?

A dog’s normal body temperature ranges between 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit, which means the heat can affect them faster than it affects us. Their inability to sweat and thick fur coats can make hot temperatures even less bearable. The best way to avoid heat-related illnesses in your dog, especially in extremely hot or humid climates, is to limit the amount of time your canine spends outdoors in direct sunlight.

Always make sure there is shade available and offer a splash of the hose or sprinkler to help keep him cool off. Concrete, pavement, and even wood decking can get hot fast and is typically much hotter than the air temperature, so use extra caution if your dog will come into contact with these surfaces during the summer. In addition, keep an eye on your dog for signs of panting and fatigue. As soon as you notice these symptoms, bring them into a cool dry environment and offer them room-temperature water to drink.

Your local vet in Gilbert

At East Valley Animal Hospital, we treat your pets like our family members! It’s vital to us that you and your animal friends experience a stress-free environment in our offices, where everyone feels well-cared for and comfortable. If you live in Gilbert, Chandler, or Mesa and you haven’t yet found your local vet, give us a call today. We’d be honored to give your canine or feline the quality care he or she deserves! To schedule an appointment, call 480-568-2462 or contact us online.

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst (6/21/2018)

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