In contrast to humans, dogs pant to eliminate heat from their bodies. When panting is not enough, a dog can suffer heat stroke. If left untreated, heat stroke can be fatal.
What is Heat Stroke in Dogs?
A heat stroke is an elevated body temperature caused by hyperthermia. The body temperature of a pet is considered abnormal if it exceeds 103°F (39.4°C). The condition is commonly referred to as heat stroke when the body temperature reaches 106°F (41°F) without any previous signs of illness.
What Causes Dogs to Get Heat Stroke?
A dog can suffer a heat stroke in any hot environment. In most cases, this is due to certain situations, like leaving a dog in a car or not providing water and shade. There are some dog breeds that are more prone to heat stroke than others. The risk of heatstroke is higher in dogs with thick fur or short noses. The risk of heat stroke is also higher in dogs with medical conditions. The symptoms of heat stroke should be closely monitored even by dogs who enjoy constant exercise and playtime.
How Does a Dog Suffer from Heat Stroke?
Panting is one of the most obvious symptoms of heat stroke in dogs. The symptoms may also include drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, mental dullness, lack of coordination, and collapse. Dogs with heat stroke can develop unnoticed medical problems, such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, and abnormal blood clotting. Immediate veterinary care is a must.
How Should You Handle a Heat Stroke in a Dog?
You should contact your veterinarian or the nearest emergency animal hospital as soon as possible. During your trip to the veterinarian, keep the windows open and the air conditioner on.
As a temporary measure, you should:
- Immediately remove the dog from the hot environment.
- Dogs should not be given aspirin to lower their temperature, as it can lead to further problems.
- Drink as much cool water as your dogs want without forcing them.
- Use a soaked towel to cool off your dog with cold water.
How to Treat Heat Stroke in Dogs?
When a dog suffers from heat stroke, intravenous fluid therapy will be used to replace fluids and minerals.
A veterinarian will also keep an eye on your dog for the development of secondary complications, such as kidney failure, developing neurologic symptoms, abnormal clotting, and changes in blood pressure and electrolyte levels.
Tips to Prevent Heat Stroke in Dogs
- In hot and humid weather, it is crucial for pet owners to keep an eye on the outside temperature to prevent heat stroke.
- Make sure your dog has plenty of water and shade when outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
- Whenever you travel in a car with your dog, make sure he is kept in a crate with good ventilation, and never leave him in a closed vehicle.
Heat stroke in dogs can be dangerous, especially if it goes untreated for a long period of time. The best way to avoid heat stroke in hot weather is to keep your dog's activities under control. Early detection of signs such as excessive sweating or a lack of energy is critical in preventing heatstroke. Your dog's chances of life can be increased if you take immediate action to cool them down and seek immediate veterinarian attention.