A Guide To Heatstroke In Dogs – What To Do
A Guide To Heatstroke In Dogs – What To Do – It’s important to know how to respond if you see a dog in distress from the heat. With temperatures soaring into the high 30′s and 40′s – it’s essential to remember our furry friends.
If a dog is left unattended in a car, or a back yard with no shade, or if it is made to exercise excessively in hot weather it can quickly lose its ability to regulate its body temperature. A dog’s temperature is controlled when it pants. When it gets too hot – heatstroke can occur. A dog cannot pant fast enough to cool itself.
In a hot car a dogs body acquires heat faster than it can dissipate the heat. They only dissipate heat through their paws and their mouths and on a hot day this isn’t enough to cool the body. So a dog starts to pant. It only takes a few minutes in a hot car for it to be dangerous.
Heat exhaustion happens first – followed by heatstroke:
If a dog’s body temperature reaches 106 – 108 degrees – it’s core temperature must be lowered as quickly as possible to prevent damage to kidneys – liver – heart and brain. Heatstroke requires immediate attention – it can cause death. The longer the heat exposure – the greater the damage to the dog.
Signs Of Heatstroke In A Dog:
A wild eyed look of distress.
Dark red gums that are tacky to the touch.
Disorientation and staggering.
Refusal to respond to a usual command.
Lying down and being unable to get up.
Rapid heartbeat – vomiting or diarrhea.
Collapse – seizures and loss of consciousness.
What To Do If You Suspect Heatstroke – Take Immediate Action:
Move the dog out of the sun and away from the heat immediately. Find shade or air conditioned space.
Rub cool (not ice cold) damp towels along the dogs groin and down his legs and around his foot pads. Rub his head and face softly with a cool cloth.
Run cool (NOT cold) water over his tongue and mouth.
Offer the dog cool water but do not force him to drink or pour water into his mouth.
If you are able – use cool, running water to gently hose down your dog. Never submerge him a in a tub of cold water – it could shock his entire system.
Do NOT cover him up – the heat needs to dissipate from his body not be trapped under a cover.
As soon as possible help your dog to move around and encourage him to drink small amounts of cool water. Never wet him down and then put him in an enclosed area where there is no air circulation. Sitting with him in a car with the air conditioning running is a good way to help cool his body temperature.
NEVER let him gulp water
Check his temperature until it has stabilized at about 102 degrees.
Call your vet immediately. Even if he seems recovered a trip to the vet is important. The effects of heat stroke can last from 48 – to 72 hours.
If a dog won’t drink water try offering it mild chicken or beef based broth. Never give a dog human drinks or beverages.
Black dogs get hot faster than lighter coloured dogs.
Check with your vet before you shave your dog’s fur. Some fur type are actually beneficial to a dog.
If you see a dog trapped in a hot car – Call 911 or the emergency # in your country – not animal services.
NEVER leave a dog in a warm or hot car – even with the windows cracked.
On hot days – avoid vigorous exercise – even if your dog wants to play. Instead walk early in the morning or later in the evening.
Have fresh, cool water available for your dog at all times.
Some dogs (short nosed breeds) – boxers – pugs – bull dogs and obese or older dogs are far more susceptible to heat than other breeds – so use extreme caution on a hot day.
A dog’s foot pads can burn on hot sidewalks – so be careful on walks.
Almost all heatstroke in dogs is human error and thus preventable.
Use common sense.
Remember – if it’s too hot for you – it’s too hot for him!