How To Tell If Your Dog Has Heatstroke And How To Cool It Down

  • 20/06/2017
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Dog-in-car.jpgLeaving your dog in a hot car is clearly a big no-no - but in this weather, your pet can develop potentially fatal heatstroke anywhere.

Because a dog's sweat glands are confined to their nose and the pads of their feet, they feel the hot weather much more than us.

Panting is the only way to regulate the body temperature and it that doesn't work your pet can suffer possibly fatal damage to their brain, vital organs or nervous system.

Heat stroke takes effect very quickly and is an emergency that requires immediate recognition and prompt treatment.

Vets generally say be wary of taking most dogs out in temperatures of over 31C, 90F and make sure they are not left in a garden or hot room.

Obese, elderly, sick and dogs with breathing issues are most at risk and a lack of drinking water, obesity, and overexertion can exacerbate the problem.

Watch out for breeds with flat faces and short noses because they really struggle in these kinds of temperatures.

And remember dogs can take 60 days to get used to a large rise or fall in temperatures, so the sudden mini-heatwave will be a problem for them.

But how do you know when your pet is in danger of overheating because of a dangerous rise in body temperature?

The signs to look out for

Heavy panting or rapid breathing

Lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated

Excessive drooling

Glazed eyes

Weakness or seizures

Vomiting

Bloody diarrhea

Seizures or collapse

How to avoid it

Never leave the pet in a parked car, even for a few minutes, and break the window if you see an animal trapped in a vehicle who is clearly in trouble.

Walk your dog before the sun comes up in the morning or after sunset and if they are outside in the day make sure they have access to complete shade.

Avoid long car journeys

Stay off hot pavements. As well as burning your dog's paws, heat rising off concrete and asphalt can overheat smaller breeds.

Limit the walks. Too much physical exertion in hot weather can cause heatstroke.

Make sure your dog has plenty of drinking water to stop them becoming dehydrated and ensure they are drinking it.

Gently hose or sponge them down with cool water to lower their body temperature.

Consider using a rectal thermometer to take your dog's temperature

What do if they have heatstroke

The RSPCA say for the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.

Move him/her to a shaded/cool area.

Immediately douse the dog with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock. If possible, you can also use wet towels or place him/her in the breeze of a fan.

Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water.

Continue to douse the dog with cool water until his/her breathing starts to settle but never so much that he/she begins to shiver.

Once the dog is cool, take him/her to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency.

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