Understanding And Preventing Heatstroke In Dogs

As the days become warmer with spring and summer coming, we hear about dogs being left in hot cars. Dogs quickly overheat since they only have limited cooling choices for their entire body. Panting and perspiration from the toes are the only choices dogs have in warm weather. This makes leaving them confined to yards where there is minimum shade from the sunlight miserable for them and potentially fatal. It only requires a few minutes for the dogs core body temperature to rise 5 to 6 degrees above the normal body temperature which leads to permanent neurological problems, comas, and even death. <!–More–>

Heat stroke and dehydration are entirely preventable if the dog’s owner only understood the enormous risk they are putting their pet in. The greatest and most concerning problem are dogs left in hot vehicles. Even a brief period of time is unacceptable. If the outside temperature is from the 80’s, a parked vehicle in direct sunlight with the window rolled down marginally can easily reach 100 plus degrees within a matter of a few minutes. The automobile becomes an insulated capsule of warmth. Together with the dog with no ability to escape the car it becomes a life threatening scenario. Dogs should not be left alone in any car. If you have to take your pet with you and you’ll be running in and out of locations, take someone else with you so that they can take the dog out of the car till you return. If this isn’t possible then have the person you take with you stay with the dog in the car with the air conditioner running.

There are a few breeds of dogs which are more vulnerable to heat stroke. These strains are the brachycephalic dogs or those strains with very short muzzles. Some of them include Pugs, Shih Tzus, Maltese, Pomeranians, Boxers, and Boston Terriers.

The reason the short muzzled dogs may have triple the issues with heat is because of their air passages being so brief. Rather than the hot air being cooled throughout the nasal passages it is brought right into the bodies center.

Another group of dog breeds which are more prone to problems from heat stroke are ones which have deep, thick, and double coats. These are often your bigger breed of dogs. Some of these are the Newfoundlands, St. Bernard’s, and Great Pyrenees. As a result of their coats, they have an additional difficult time with cooling and removing heat from their body.

Signs of heat stroke come on fast but there are a couple of early signs to watch for. Dogs which are panting and drooling too, staggering, and are disoriented, could be the first signs of heat stroke. Even more severe signs quickly appear with a dog entering heat stroke are nausea, bleeding from the nasal passages, seizures, tremors, frantic behavior, and quite quickly, death. Learn more about Matthews emergency vet.

The first course of action you must take is to have the dog from the sun and into a location where it’s cooler. Get as much cool water all over their body but don’t use ice cold water because this can place the dog into shock. Pay particular attention to their legs and torso region. If there isn’t a hose available, you may use wet towels or perhaps set the dog in the tub or swimming pool. If the puppy is disorientated don’t leave them alone in the water. Visit cat and dog neurology for more details and resources.

It is possible to supply the dog water but they will likely not drink it until the body temperature is closer to being normal. Never force water into the dog to drink because this may lead to anxiety in addition to the prospect of forcing water into the lungs. Call your veterinarian immediately and proceed to the closest emergency animal clinic. Even if your dog seems to have recovered there are imbalances in their blood that the event caused and might have to be adjusted to prevent permanent damage.