Too Hot (Exercise Safely In The Heat)!

My huskies are my favorite cardio companions.  We love to go for long, fast walks, up and down the hills where I live.  I’ve never had dogs in my life before, let alone known any huskies so I’ve been fascinated by how their coats change according to the season.  In the winter, when it was consistently cool, they started growing very thick fur, which did a marvelous job keeping them warm (and their skin dry) during our trips to the mountain snow.

You can see how thick her fur is mid-winter.  She loves to sit out and let it snow on her.  It crusts on the outer layer of her fur but if you put your hand on her and kind of dig down, you can feel her skin and it's warm as toast!

You can see how thick her fur is mid-winter. She loves to sit out and let it snow on her. It crusts on the outer layer of her fur but if you put your hand on her and kind of dig down, you can feel her skin.  It’s dry and warm as toast!

When it started getting warmer during the day, out came the thick fur, leaving them with a much less dense coat.

Look carefully at this photo.  See that stuff on the lawn?  That's FUR! Yep, when they say huskies "blow their coats" after winter,they mean it!  It comes out by the handfuls.

Look carefully at this photo. See that stuff on the lawn? That’s FUR! Yep, when they say huskies “blow their coats” after winter, they mean it! It comes out by the handfuls, by the bag-fulls!  There’s actually a place that will take the fur you collect and make it into yarn…then you can knit a husky sweater!  Funny idea.

Humans don’t have that kind of natural protection from the elements. We have to take precautions to stay safe when we exercise outdoors in both the winter months and in the hot summer months. Heat related illnesses are a serious issue this time of year.  The following is a good reminder of what to look for and how to react if you or someone else starts to suffer ill effects from the heat.

(The following was taken from “Hot Weather Exercise Tips” posted by the Texas Heart Institute)

Heat-related Illnesses

Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is unable to cool itself properly. Sweating is the body’s first method of cooling, but, in some cases, that cannot lower the body’s temperature enough. Illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke are usually preventable, but many people still die of them every year.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion develops in people who are exposed to high temperatures and who do not drink enough fluids. People who are especially at risk for heat exhaustion are the elderly, children, people with high blood pressure, and those who work or exercise in hot environments. During heat exhaustion, the body is able to maintain a normal temperature for a while, but only at the expense of other body functions. If not treated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. In athletes, heat exhaustion results in sudden decreased performance and exhaustion.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include

Heavy sweating
Muscle cramps
Dry tongue and thirst
Nausea or vomiting
People who experience these symptoms or those who have heart problems need to see a doctor immediately. If someone is developing heat exhaustion, you should move him or her out of the sun right away and into a cool place. Remove any extra layers of clothing and give the person water or a sports drink to replenish the body’s lost fluids. If the person does not feel better after an hour, seek medical attention.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It is unlikely that conditioned athletes will develop heat stroke, but young children, elderly people, chronically ill patients, and even pets may easily get heat stroke. Heat stroke is a severe form of hyperthermia (very high body temperature) and requires medical treatment right away. Because the body’s cooling system has been overwhelmed by heat and dehydration, the body temperature may rise to 103°F or higher. If a person does not get treatment right away, heat stroke can lead to permanent damage to the body’s organs, including the brain. In some cases, people who do not get help right away can die.

Some signs and symptoms of heat stroke include

Body temperature of 103˚F or higher
Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
Rapid heartbeat
Severe headache
If you think that someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 right away. While waiting for an ambulance, try to cool the person by moving him or her out of the sun and into a cool place. Attempt to cool the person by any available method, such as covering them with a wet sheet, applying ice packs, or placing them in a cool tub of water. If possible, offer the person water to drink.


4 responses

  1. I used to have a huskie. They are great dogs and in the summer I used to have to brush her twice a day.

    1. I’m having SO much fun with these wonderful puppies! They are my first dogs ever so I had no idea what to expect. It’s been one happy surprise after another. You know how they shed! I didn’t expect that amount of fur to fly!

      Glad you stopped by. Wishing you a very happy Friday!

  2. Huskies are, as you have learned, a very unique breed. They are beautiful and hardy. Many years ago, my wife bred them in Texas. Although there is not a big demand for sled dogs there, they were easy to sell. We later had a wolf hybrid, which is not really welcome in ranch country, but he never harmed any livestock and is buried at our Colorado ranch. He hung out with the Yellow Labs most of his life, so he probably had some identity confusion and “felt” that he was a Lab trapped in an Husky-Wolf body.

    1. They are the most wonderful companions…such fun! They also have minds of their own, that’s for sure. One of our pups, the female has a personality like a cat. She’s VERY independent (and incredibly smart). The male is a lab trapped in a husky body. He’s so loving and sweet and craves attention. She bosses him around (but he doesn’t really mind). They both fill me with joy. I know you know just what I mean.

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