Heat stroke in dogs is very common especially during the summer when temperatures reach an all-time high. Pet owners like you should be aware of the causes and symptoms of heat stroke so you would know what to do in case your dog suffers from one. In the guide below, we’ve put into detail everything you need to know about this serious condition.
WHAT IS HEAT STROKE?
Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia, a term used to describe the rapid and abnormal rise in core body temperature. It occurs when the body fails to regulate the way it generates heat. Humans can to release heat through sweating; dogs can only do so by panting. When panting is no longer enough to help them eliminate heat, their temperature shoots up uncontrollably, resulting in heat stroke.
CAUSES OF HEAT STROKE
Aside from hot weather conditions, another common cause of heat stroke is careless owner actions such as leaving dogs inside a car or any unventilated, confined space, especially if they are left without access to water. Dogs with short noses, thick fur, and underlying health issues are more prone to heat stroke, so they must be monitored closely when during any physical activity outdoors. Flat-faced dog breeds such as pugs and bulldogs are also at higher risk of suffering from heat stroke, as well as dogs who are overweight.
HOW TO TELL HEATSTROKE IN DOGS
It is important to know what the signs and symptoms of heat stroke in dogs are and to be prompt in addressing them. One of the first symptoms to watch out for is excessive panting. This would soon be followed by hypersalivation or excessive drooling, dry nose, rapid heart rate, vomiting, and diarrhea. The more severe symptoms include seizures, muscle spasms, blood in the mouth or stool.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOG SUFFERS FROM HEAT STROKE
If you suspect heat stroke in your dog, take their temperature using a rectal thermometer and if you get a reading of 105oF or higher, consider this an emergency. Immediately put him in a shaded, well-ventilated area and pour cool water (not ice-cold as it may cause shock to their system) on their heads, paws, and underside until their temperature lowers down to 103oF. Don’t let it drop lower than that because it may also be harmful for your dog. Offer them water but don’t force them to drink a lot if they don’t want to.
Take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible so proper treatment can be given, even if they are showing signs of recovery brought by first aid. On the trip to the clinic, make sure to roll down your car windows or turn on air conditioning. Your vet would most likely run blood tests to check organ function, and administer intravenous fluids and additional oxygen to stabilize their breathing.
TIPS IN PREVENTING HEAT STROKE IN DOGS
- Make sure your dog’s space is cool and well-ventilated at all times. If they are outdoors, they should have access to shade.
- Cool drinking water should always be accessible for your dogs wherever they may be in your home to avoid dehydration.
- Refrain from letting your dogs exercise on hot and extremely humid days, or getting them out for a walk when pavements are still scorching hot. If it hurts your hand to touch the concrete, then it’s best not to let your dog walk on it.
- Never leave your dog inside a car with no ventilation for prolonged periods, whatever the weather. This bad practice can kill your pet in an instant.
Heat stroke in dogs can be life-threatening, and every second counts in responding to signs and symptoms. It’s important for pet owners to recognize risk factors early on and take the necessary precautions that can save their beloved dogs’ lives.