What is Heat Stroke
Heat stroke happens when your dog's temperature becomes dangerously high. It occurs when your pet's body can no longer dissipate heat. If your pet's body temperature exceeds 103°F (39.4°C), it is considered abnormal and could lead to having heat stroke. Multiple organ failures and impending death could happen when your dog's body temperature is around 107°F to 109°F (41.2°C to 42.7°C).
Signs of Heat Stroke
Watch the following symptoms of heat stroke and contact your vet immediately if you suspect that your dog is overheating.
Panting is your dog's primary method of dissipating heat out of their body. There are various degrees on how strenuously dog pants. This information will help you tell right away when your dog needs to cool off. When your dog is exposed to warmer temperatures, your dog slightly opens his mouth with light panting. When it gets warmer, your dog's mouth is fully opened, and you'll notice that he has a swollen tongue that hangs on the side. If your dog is panting heavily, get them to a cool and shady spot, and offer your dog fresh water.
If you notice that your dog is drooling it's because their body is trying its best to cool down. The excess saliva helps them to cool down faster than what panting alone could do. Don't wait till you see this symptom to get them inside and cool them down.
Taking Frequent Breaks
While making your dog out for a walk, you notice that he is taking more breaks than the usual and is lying down. This is a clear indication that the heat is taking a toll on your pet. You would need to take them indoors and give them some time to recover. Offer a drink of water as well.
Elevated Heart Rate
The easiest way to check your dog's pulse is to place your hand on their chest near the front elbow joint. If the pulse appears elevated, they could be overheating. The average pulse rates of dogs vary on their size - the bigger the dog, the slower their pulses are.
When your dog is shivering as if they are cold regardless of the temperature, it could be caused by heat exhaustion.
- Little to no urine.
- Lack of appetite
- Reddened gums
What to Do if Your Dog has Heat Stroke
At the first sign of heat stroke, take immediate actions to cool down your pet. We recommend you take the following steps to treat your dog's overheating.
Move your dog to a cooler area. Find an indoor location where there is a shade with fan or air conditioning. If you're outdoors, move to a place where there is shade like under a tree then fan them down to cool them off.
Check the temperature using a rectal thermometer. Heat exhaustion happens when your dog's temperature is around 103 and 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature above 106 puts your dog in the risk of having heat stroke. Heat stroke is a medical emergency; therefore, you need to call your veterinarian immediately if the temperature rises above that level.
If you are near a body of water such as a lake, let your dog dip down. You can also use a wet towel or cloths to cool them down. Place the damp cloth or towel in your dog's neck, armpits, and between his hind legs to help them cool down faster.
When your dog is conscious, offer them a drink of fresh water. Don't force your pet to drink water because it could end up in their lungs. If they can't or won't drink, wet their tongue with water. Do not feed them with ice cubes as the sudden temperature drop can lead to shock.
Take them to the vet. Even if you see that your pet is recovering, you still need to visit your vet. Your vet will monitor for signs of dehydration, shock, kidney failure, and other possible complications of heat exhaustion. If your dog is severely ill, go to your veterinarian immediately. Call ahead so that they'll be ready to take action as soon as you arrive.
Preventing Heat Stroke
There are simple steps you can do to prevent this from heat stroke from happening in the first place. Here are some of those:
Never leave your dog inside a parked vehicle. Even if it's just for a few minutes and even if you leave the windows down. The temperature inside the car can increase dramatically in minutes. It's like leaving your pet inside a hot oven.
Do strenuous activities like playing and exercise when temperatures are lower like early morning or at night. Don't forget to carry water whenever you go out with your pet. Allow your pet to drink water for as much as it wants.
Cool down your dog if it exhibits signs of heat stroke. When you see your pet experiencing loss of energy, drooling or panting and is obviously weak, you can hose them down with water to cool them down.
Carry water with you. You need to give your pet plenty of water while you're taking them out on a walk this summer season. Take frequent breaks then offer them fresh water to drink. They cannot drink directly from your bottle so bring a collapsible water dish with you.