Heat Stroke In Dogs

Common sense is best when considering hot weather tips for your dog. Remember that older and obese pets, dogs with heart or breathing problems, short noses, and certain breeds like boxers, bulldogs, St. Bernards and ShihTzus are more prone to heat related problems.

  shutterstock_281761124Dogs cool themselves by panting and also through sweat glands in the pads of their feet, but excessive exercise and hot temperatures can overcome your dog’s ability to regulate their temperature.

Heat stroke occurs when the dog’s body temperature gets over 103 degrees F. The normal internal temperature is between 99.5 and 102.5 F.  A temperature of 108 can be fatal.  These increased temperatures can cause damage to internal organs like swelling of the brain and kidney failure.

Caught early, we can prevent permanent damage.

Symptoms Of Early Heat Stroke:

– loud and excessive panting

– extreme thirst

– vomiting or bloody diarrhea

– bright red tongue and pale gums

– skin around the neck and muzzle that does not bounce back when gently pinched (a sign of dehydration)

– thick and sticky saliva

– increased heart rate

– decreased urination

Signs Things Are Getting Worse:

– increased trouble breathing

– weakness with muscle tremors

– disorientation with wobbly gait

– laying down on his side

– collapse or coma

shutterstock_27971018 - CopyIf you suspect your dog is getting overheated, take his temperature with a rectal thermometer. Insert a digital pet thermometer about an inch inside the rectum. Hold onto it until it beeps. Record the temperature and if it is over 103 degrees F, call the emergency vet in your area. In the meantime, cool your dog down.

Treating Heat Stroke

1. Remove the dog from the heat and place in an air conditioned room if possible. If not, make sure your dog has shade and restrict activity.

2. Allow the dog to drink cool, not cold water. Small amounts at first are best. No human sports drinks! If there appears to be no interest in water, try some room temperature, unsalted chicken or beef broth. Do not force him to drink if he cannot do so on his own.

3. Cool the body down with water either in a bath tub or with a pressure reduced hose. Wet the dog with cool water. Do not submerge completely or the body will lose temperature too quickly. No ice water as this can cause blood vessels to constrict. Just wet down gently over the back and neck.

4. Place a cold pack or a bag of frozen vegetables on his head or neck.

5. Massaging legs will help with circulation.

6. Keep pads of feet in cool air.

7. Do not cover or confine the animal. Wipe down with cool, damp towel but do not cover or crate him.

8. Take your dog to the vet. Even if he seems fine, it is always a good idea to have a thorough check up.

Preventing Heat Stroke Is Easy!

Never leave dogs, cats or children in a hot car!shutterstock_246019489

Groom long haired and thick coated dogs with a summer cut in hot weather.

Always provide shade and water.

Keep dogs inside during the heat of the day and monitor exercise.

Avoid concrete and asphalt surfaces. The sand at the beach can burn sensitive paws too!

We all love our dogs and love to take them everywhere with us. But in the summer we need to think ahead and do what’s best for our furry friends.  Be strong and resist that sad face as you get ready to leave them behind in the air conditioning!

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