Beware of Heat Stroke in Dogs

Summer is here, so PLEASE take care of your dogs!

In several areas of the country, the temperatures are soaring to breaking record highs. Due to this Dog Parents need to be careful when taking their Fur Babies in car rides and out for walks.

Leaving your pet inside a car while you run into a store no matter how short of time, is an absolute No-No!!! Even with the windows cracked, the temperatures inside a car can sky-rocket fast! Here are the signs to watch out for. Remember, if it is too hot for you to walk barefoot outside, it is too hot for your pets!

Image Courtesy of Scottsdale Hills Animal Hospital

Dog fur is great protection against the cold but can be a problem in hot weather. This is because, unlike humans, dogs eliminate heat by panting. When panting isn’t enough, their body temperature rises. This can be fatal if not corrected quickly.

What To Watch For

Excessive panting and signs of discomfort indicate overheating. However, it is important to be aware of the ambient temperature and take appropriate preventative measures.

Primary Cause

Any hot environment can cause heatstroke, but the most common cause is careless actions such as leaving a dog in a car on a hot day or forgetting to provide shade to an animal kept outdoors.

Immediate Care

It is essential to remove the dog from the hot environment immediately and get immediate veterinary attention. Heatstroke can cause unseen problems, such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure, and abnormal clotting of blood. On the way to the veterinarian, travel with the windows open and the air conditioner on.

If veterinary care is not immediately possible, the following guidelines will help. If the dog is unconscious, make sure no water enters the nose or mouth as you follow these guidelines. Also, do not give the dog aspirin to lower its temperature; this can lead to other problems.

  1. Put your dog in the bath tub.
  2. Run a cool (not cold) shower over your pet, covering the whole body — especially the back of the head and neck.
  3. Allow the water to fill up the bathtub as you shower the dog. Keep the head elevated to prevent aspiration pneumonia.
  4. If getting the dog into the tub is impractical, use a garden hose to cool the dog or place him in a pool of cool water.
  5. Apply a cold pack to the dog’s head to help lower his body temperature — a packet of frozen vegetables works fine.
  6. Massage the legs. A vigorous rubbing helps the dog’s circulation and reduces the risks of shock.
  7. Let the dog drink as much cool or cold water as it wants. Adding a pinch of salt to the water bowl will help the dog replace the minerals it lost through panting.

The best medicine is to not allow your dog to get into this situation. As mentioned before, do not leave your dog in a car. Do not take them for walks when it is hot. Do not leave your dog outside without shade or water. Remember, your dog depends on you to give them a good life.

*Heat Stroke information provided by Petmd.com