What Is Heat Stroke? What Are The Signs? What Should I Do to Prevent It?
Any hot and humid environment can cause heatstroke in pets such as leaving them in a car, excessive exercise, not providing shade for pets kept outdoors, or being enclosed in an unventilated room. Dogs don’t sweat like humans which means they aren’t able to cool off as easy as we can. In fact, the only sweat glands they have are on the pads of their feet. A heat stroke can lead to multiple organ dysfunction. While heat stroke can be deadly, you can take steps to prevent it.
Identify the Symptoms
Know the signs of heat stroke in your dog: excessive panting is usually the first symptom. In addition, excessive drooling, dehydration, dizziness, bright red tongue, pale gums that turn bright red, blue then purple, wobbly or drunken gait, small amount or no urine production, excessive drooling, excessive thirst, seizures, rapid pulse, vomiting (sometimes with blood), glazed over eyes, lethargy, refusal to eat in a pet that usually eats well are just a few of the signs. As heat stroke progresses, it can cause seizures, coma, cardiac arrest and death.
Heat Stroke Prevention
- Don’t leave your dog in the car. Temperatures can rise rapidly within ten minutes!
- Plan your exercise activity in the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler.
- Let your dog hang out in the shade when he’s outside.
- Keep your dog groomed and brushed. Shaving is discouraged as it’s your dog’s natural protection from the sun and provides a cooling insulator.
- Provide extra care for older pets, obese, history of heart disease, and breeds with shortened faces as they are more likely to suffer from heat stroke.
What Should I Do If My Dog Shows Signs of Heat Stroke?
Immediately remove your dog from the hot area and transport to your local vet. Call ahead to alert them you are on the way. Carry your pet as opposed to asking him to walk. Try lowering his temperature by turning on the air conditioning or a fan and by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in his armpits, and between his hind legs. You can gently wet his ears and paw pads with cool water too. Do not drape the towels over him. Offer cold water if he can drink on his own. If he doesn’t want to drink, wet his lips, gums and tongue with water squeezed from a towel. Do not give ice cubes which could cause his temperature to drop too quickly, leading to shock. Heat stoke can be prevented. When armed with knowledge on how to recognize overheating and how to respond, you can look forward to a fun and happy summer with your pet.