Overheating in dogs is not something to be taken lightly as heat exhaustion can lead to potentially fatal conditions such as cardiac arrest or stroke. Dogs eliminate heat by panting instead of sweating. Sweat glands in their footpads help to dissipate heat but only minimally. When panting is not enough, a dog’s body temperature rises this can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke in dogs which can be life threatening if not corrected quickly.
Fortunately it easy to spot overheating in dogs if one pays close attention to the signs.
Physical Signs Of Heat Stroke In Dogs
Discomfort and excessive panting in dogs is a sure sign of overheating in dogs. A dog that is overheating may show restraint when attempting to move it around. Drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, uncoordinated movement, as well as the loss of consciousness, are other signs of heat stroke in dogs. These can trigger dog aggression as fear in dogs and medical conditions are known factors of aggression in dogs. The following website provides more information on how to stop dog aggression.
Causes Of Heat Stroke In Dogs
The most common causes of heatstroke in a dog is negligence on the part of the owner. Leaving a dog in the car and forgetting to provide sufficient water and shade for dogs that are outside is a huge factor. Older dogs, very young dogs/ puppies and overweight dogs are more prone to developing heat exhaustion. It is important for the owner to be aware of the temperature and to take preventative measures to protect their dog from heat exhaustion. On hot days even active dogs that enjoy playing and constant exercises are prone to heat stroke. Dogs with medical conditions, short noses, and thick fur are predisposed to heat exhaustion and require additional care and attention.
Remove dogs from hot environments at once and avoid giving them aspirin as this can make the situation worse.
When a dog is unconscious it is important to do the following:
- Get a hose and hose your dog down while ensuring that the water doesn’t enter through its nose or mouth. Alternatively, place the dog in a bathtub and submerge it in water, while elevating its head and neck to prevent it from drowning. Or soak a towel in water and place it on the dogs back, neck and armpits. Also, wet its ears and paws and continue to soak the towels with cold water and place it on your dog until it cools down.
- If conscious and willing to drink, give your dog cool, fresh water slowly. Never force the water down as it may end up flowing to its lungs. If your dog isn’t able to keep the water down wet its tongue continuously instead.
- Visit your vet or the nearest animal clinic, remember to contact them first to alert them that you are on your way and to allow them to prep for your dog’s arrival. Alerting them of your situation allows them to consult you on what actions to take to ensure that your dog receives proper cooling and care. It is important to constantly check your dog’s temperature, preferably every five minutes. Continue water cooling until the temperature is substantially low.
Treatment consists of replacing the lost fluids and minerals in your dog and administering treatment for shock if necessary. The Vet might monitor the dog for any possible signs of swelling in the brain, kidney failure and intestinal bleeding among other things.
Take care not to expose your dog to humid conditions, especially if the dog is prone to airway diseases. When traveling in a car never leave your dog in the car, especially with the windows closed, even if the car is parked in the shade. Ensure that the car is well ventilated at all times. For dogs outside or when exploring the outdoors. Ensure that your dog has plenty of water available and is surrounded by a lot of shady spots. Take your dog swimming on a hot day, or allow him to run freely under sprinklers to keep cool. Early morning walks are better than afternoon walks as the temperature is slightly cooler around that time. Pavements and sidewalks are usually a lot hotter during the day than in the morning, these can burn your dog’s foot pads.
The best cure is prevention, keep your dog safe from heat exhaustion with these simple tips and rest assured, your best friend will love you even more.