Heat stroke in dogs
According to The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, "Heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia, occurs when the core body temperature increases and cannot be brought down by the body’s heat-regulating mechanisms." Dogs do not have the same cooling mechanisms humans do. They do not sweat, they pant and use a temperature exchange called convection to cool the body by exchanging the warm body temperatures for the cooler air outside. If the outside air is just as hot as the dog's body temperature, the dog will be unable to cool itself.
What are the signs of heat stroke in dogs?
Elevated heart rate
Bright red tongue
Bright Red gums
Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
"Heat stroke can cause severe damage to an animal’s organs, especially the bone marrow and liver,” says Dr. McMichael of The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine . “It can lead to death, even with treatment.”
What should I do if my dog is suffering from heat stroke?
First and foremost, move your dog away from the heat and into an air conditioned area. Then, immediately transport your dog to your local veterinarian or emergency clinic. While transporting your dog, you will need to lower its temperature by placing cool, wet towels in the armpit area under the front legs, on the back of your dog's neck, and in the groin area. Circulating the air around your dog is also important so place the dog in front of a fan or a/c vent in your car. Never submerge your pet in ice water or use ice to cool it. Cooling your pet's body temperature too quickly can be life-threatening You need to also take your dog's temperature at regular intervals. Once your dog's body temperature reaches 103ºF, you no longer need to cool your dog down and can remove wet towels as well as turn off the fan,. Be sure to dry your dog off, so your dog's body temperature does not drop too low. Even if your dog is no longer panting and its temperature is normal, a trip to the veterinarian is highly recommended. Always offer your pet a a drink of cool water during the cooling process and after their body temperature is regulated.
How can heat stroke in dogs be prevented?
Always provide fresh cool water. Never leave your pet in a hot parked car, the temperature inside a parked car can escalate to 110 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Give your dog has access to shade. Avoid places like the beach with direct sunlight, or areas covered in concrete. Limit outdoor exercise on hot days. Keep your dog inside in the air conditioning whenever possible. Provide frozen bottles or baggies of water under bedding and towels for your pet to lay on.
Always take a pet who may be suffering from heat stroke to the vet. For more information on heat stroke, call you veterinrian.