How to Act Against Heat Stroke in Dogs
As we approach the spring and summer months, which are warmer, it is important to remember that heatstroke is a relatively common phenomenon in pets, and especially in dogs and cats.
Every summer, hundreds of dogs must be taken urgently to veterinarians because they have suffered a heat stroke. Some of these cases are mild but, unfortunately, can be serious and fatal.
As we are in summer it is very important that we have certain precautions. That’s why we share some tips below so you know how to act against heatstroke in dogs.
What is a heat stroke?
Hyperthermia is the term used to describe a rise in body temperature. This increase usually occurs in response to a trigger, such as inflammation in the body or a hot environment.
When a dog is exposed to high ambient temperatures, heat stroke or heat exhaustion can suffer from hyperthermia. This happens because dogs do not sweat through their skin as humans do.
Dogs sweat through the pads of their paws and gasp of the nose. If an animal cannot effectively expel heat, the internal body temperature begins to rise.
In the case of a heat stroke, panting is not enough to cool the body.
Heatstroke occurs when normal body mechanisms cannot keep the temperature in a safe range.
A dog with a moderate heat stroke has a body temperature of between 40 and 41°C and can recover within an hour if given first aid and immediate attention in the veterinarian.
Remember that normal body temperature is 37 and 38°C.
A severe heatstroke, when body temperature is above 41°C, needs immediate veterinary assistance or can be fatal.
Once the signs of a heat stroke are detected, there is very little time to prevent the damage from aggravating or even death.
In general, owners are not aware that their pets are developing this condition until it is too late to reverse it.
To prevent any situation it is important to learn to recognize the signs of a heat stroke and prevent it from happening to your dog.
As we mentioned, emergency medical treatment is necessary to prevent multi-organ damage and death. Therefore, early recognition of the common signs of a heat stroke is essential to save the life of your little friend.
Signs that detect heat stroke
A dog suffering from a heat stroke will show several signs such as rapid panting, bright red tongue, red or pale gums, sticky saliva, depression, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, perhaps with blood, diarrhea, and coma.
What you should do is get the dog out of the hot zone immediately.
Before taking it to your veterinarian, try to lower its temperature: wet it well with cold water or, in case of puppies or small specimens, use warm water.
It also increases the movement of the surrounding air by means of a fan.
Use caution: the use of very cold water can actually be counterproductive.
Cooling too quickly can cause other medical conditions that may also threaten your pet’s life. The rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes.
When the body temperature has dropped, the cooling measures must be stopped and the dog must be completely dried and covered so that heat is not lost.
Even if it seems to be recovering, you should take it to your veterinarian as soon as possible. It should still be examined, as it may be dehydrated or have other complications. Therefore, you must allow access to water to rehydrate.
Once in the vet, the professional will control the temperature, give you fluids and, occasionally, oxygen. You may take some blood samples and your clotting time will be monitored.
To prevent, on hot days, keep your pet in a cool and ventilated environment.
Try not to lack the water and avoid outdoor walks at noon or during the nap.