Heat Stroke In Dogs: Everything You Need to Know About It And How To Prevent It

  • 11/06/2019
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The summer is almost here and that also means rising temperatures. Just like us, dogs suffer when temperatures are too high and the air gets hot and dry. In fact, they tend to be even more affected, as they have a coat over their skin and their body temperature is higher than ours. To enjoy a pleasant summer together with your companion, you should know all about heat stroke, its symptoms, and how to prevent it.

  • When can heat stroke occur?

Heat stroke is triggered by high temperatures and low hydration levels. It usually happens when the dog spends too much time in the outdoors. But, it can also happen when left inside the car, in small enclosures, or due to lack of shade on hot summer days. When heat stroke occurs, the dog’s body fails in regulating its own temperature. This can rapidly lead to shutting down of the dog’s internal organs.

It is worth mentioning that your loyal companion is unable to sweat like you do when you’re feeling overheated. You see, when we sweat, our bodies release excess heat from the body and cools us down with the help of sweat. But, dogs cannot do that. The only sweat glands dogs have are located in their paws and they can do very little for a dog’s body when it faces excessive heat.

Dogs attempt at regulating their body heat by panting. It’s when they breathe rapidly with their mouths open and tongues hanging on the outside. By doing this, they are trying to release heat and cool down by moistening the air they take in. In regular instances, panting is enough to help a dog cool its body temperature. However, this is not always enough, as heat stroke is always a risk on hot days.

  • How to recognize a heat stroke

Even if you avoid leaving your dog inside the car, heat stroke can occur in other instances as well. So, it is definitely worth knowing how to recognize this danger. Speaking of leaving your dog inside the car, you should never do that, not even if it’s not that hot outside. The metal body of the car will get rapidly heated even when exposed to the sun for just a few minutes. So, it can turn into an oven faster than you can realize.

Also, dogs with short muzzles and broader heads, like pugs and bulldogs, also known as brachycephalic dog breeds, are more prone to suffering from heat stroke. This is due to the fact that their short faces do not allow them to pant effectively. So, they find it more difficult than other breeds to cool their bodies down.

When temperatures are high and there’s an obvious discomfort, you should pay attention to your dog. Here is a list of symptoms that can occur in the event of a heat stroke. If you see them, do your best to cool down your dog before the heat stroke takes place.

ü  Heavy panting and drooling more than usual;

ü  The saliva looks thicker and stickier than it normally does;

ü  The dog shows signs of dehydration;

ü  It looks weak, dizzy, or lethargic;

ü  The moist tissues and gums have a pale color while the tongue is very red;

ü  Its body temperature is higher than usual;

ü  The heart rate is elevated;

ü  It has diarrhea;

ü  When it pees, the amount of urine is very little or none at all;

ü  The eyes appear to be bloodshot;

ü  The dog seems like being depressed;

ü  Blood vomiting;

You should know that before suffering from heat stroke, your dog will present signs of heat exhaustion. It means that its body is already having a hard time finding an effective way to cool down. So, if you notice your dog has a body temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, if it pants excessively, and presents an elevated heart rate, measures must be taken immediately.

  • How to prevent heat stroke

Make sure there’s a cool shaded area where your dog can take cover in hot summer days. It should never be kept in the sun for too long or allowed to do physical effort on high temperatures. So, if your dog spends a good amount of time outdoors, in the yard, provide it a structure that can keep it safe from the sun.

Fresh water is a must on a daily basis, but it is even more important when temperatures outside are high. So, make sure your dog has plenty of water that is easy to access and that the water is cool and fresh. For this, you should change the water in its bowl as often as you can, disposing of the water leftovers that got too warm.

If you notice your dog has heat-related issues, you can use a fan to help it cool down. Or you can create a cooling pad on your own by using ice cubes and a towel. Take the ice cubes and place them in a Ziploc bag. Take a towel or blanket with adequate thickness and place it over the Ziploc bag. The idea is to allow the dog to sit comfortably on this cooling pad without the risk of getting ice bites.

You can also use a spray bottle filled with cool water or a towel, which can be soaked in water and applied to your dog when it is too hot. The spray bottle will do the same if you pulverize water on the surface of its body.

If you plan on going on trips with your dog, check the weather and plan well ahead. This way, you will be prepared for anything. Don’t muzzle your dog, strain it with physical exercises, stay too much in a hot spot, or leave it inside the car on warm days. Be a responsible dog owner and you’ll have a wonderful summer together with your dog.

  • How to treat heat stroke

If you are at home and notice signs of heat stroke, put your dog in the bathtub and run cool water over its neck and back. Just make sure you’re using cool water and not cold water. If you can’t do this, use a cold pack made out of something frozen from the fridge wrapped in a towel. Give the dog plenty of water, ideally cool water. You can add a bit of salt to the water to help it regain its electrolytic balance, but don’t use too much salt. Also, massaging its feet will prevent it from going into shock, triggered by hypothermia.

Whether you are already a dog owner or you plan on getting a dog soon, having this kind of information is essential. Heat stroke can affect dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. If you haven’t found the ideal pup just yet, you may want to visit charlottedogclub.com. It is the ideal place to look for a happy and healthy puppy, as the platform works with responsible dog breeders only and quality is guaranteed.

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