Summer is here, and with temperatures reaching all-time highs, it is critical that pet parents understand the dangers of heatstroke in dogs, including signs to look for, how to treat heat stroke or heat exhaustion in dogs and, most importantly, the best ways to prevent this emergency from happening.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition caused by the body overheating—usually because of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. Before heatstroke in dogs occurs, heat exhaustion happens. Heat exhaustion is a condition in which the core body temperature reaches above 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
When your pet’s core body temperature reaches 106 degrees Fahrenheit heatstroke occurs. Heatstroke causes the cells in the body to become damaged, which may result in organ failure. Heatstroke in dogs is more common than cats and can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.
Unlike humans, pets have very few sweat glands and do little to regulate their body temperature. Pets cool down by panting, or rapid open-mouth breathing. When panting is not enough to cool your pet down in excessive heat or exertion, heatstroke may ensue.
During the summer months—especially during the hottest parts of the day—it is important to monitor your pup for signs of heat stress. The earlier you detect and treat heatstroke, the better the prognosis. The following are clinical signs of heatstroke in dogs:
If you note any of these clinical signs in your pet, move him to a shaded, cool area with accessible water and have your pet evaluated immediately by your veterinarian.
Diagnosis of heatstroke in dogs is based on the pup’s history of heat exposure, current clinical signs and a core body temperature greater than 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heatstroke is an emergency, so take your pet to the veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian will begin aggressive supportive treatment immediately. Treatment is based on your veterinarian’s evaluation of your pet’s condition and may include
Note: Heatstroke in dogs is a life-threating condition with a guarded prognosis, despite extreme measures and treatment.
By following a few simple tips, you can prevent heatstroke in dogs this summer.
Note: Brachycephalic dog breeds (those with a flat and wide skull shape, such as Bulldogs, Pekingese and Pugs) and overweight dogs are more prone to heat stroke. Take extra preventive measures for these dogs during hotter months.
If you have any questions or concerns about heatstroke and heat exhaustion in dogs, call or visit your veterinarian. They are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Featured Image: via Chewy Studios