It is not easy for your canine to maintain their body temperature when they are exposed to hot weather. There is a high possibility of them facing heat exhaustion, which can lead to heatstroke if neglected. You may think that your pup will be alright in some time. But, that is not the case majority of the time as dogs get affected more severely by heatstroke compared to their human friends.
Hyperthermia is the condition where the body temperature gets elevated and goes above 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit (F). We commonly refer to it as heatstroke. When the dog is exposed to hot weather conditions, like playing or exercising in an open space on a sunny day their body temperature increases suddenly. Heatstroke in dogs needs urgent attention. If left untreated, this can lead to sudden death of the pet.
Heatstroke is severe when it comes to dogs
Your furry friend needs to put in more effort to cope with the increased temperature. They pant rapidly, but that does not help much if the body temperature is too high. Dogs sweat a little heat out from their paws and nose, but that is not enough to bring the body temperature down if it is extremely high. If they cannot get the heat out of their body, their body temperature will keep rising and will lead to permanent damage to their vital organs. You need to be vigilant for the signs of heatstroke to get your pup out of danger and provide the immediate care required.
Factors that make dogs more vulnerable to heatstroke
- Dogs of all breeds can get heatstroke. But, certain breeds and longhaired or brachycephalic (short-nosed) ones are more susceptible to heatstroke.
- Young and senior dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke compared to middle-aged dogs.
- Heatstroke impacts obese dogs and dogs with medical conditions more severely.
Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs:
If your dog finds it difficult to follow the routine commands, seems disoriented, or avoids drinking water, be alert. Check for the following signs that can indicate heatstroke:
- Relentless panting
- Too much drooling
- Increased body temperature
- Bright red gums
- Dry mucous membranes
- Loss of consciousness
Initial care during heatstroke:
When the signs of heatstroke are visible, act fast and do the following:
- Take your pet away from the sun’s heat. Bring them to a cool, shaded place immediately.
- Give them cool water to drink. Do not force them, let them have only as much water as they want to drink.
- Spray cool or tepid water on the underside of dogs. Avoid covering them with wet towels completely as that will trap heat and will worsen the situation.
- Switch on the Air Condition or turn on a fan to keep the area cool and ventilated.
- Keep checking the body temperature every few minutes. Do not cool excessively as a sudden extensive decrease in temperature can lead to hypothermia.
- Call your vet immediately for further guidance.
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Steps to avoid heatstroke in your pet:
- Avoid exposure to hot weather. Take your pet out for a walk or exercise in the morning or evening when the sun’s heat is not stark. Do not involve them in vigorous exercise on hot days.
- Do not leave your dog inside a locked car. As per a recent study, the temperature inside a car can go up by 40 F in just one hour. Keeping windows fully or partially open does not help much. A locked vehicle works like an oven even if the outer environment is not that hot.
- Provide enough water to your pup to keep them hydrated.
In the end:
Heatstroke can be deadly for your furry pal. They need immediate medical attention to recover from the heatstroke. It is better to be alert than sorry. Prevent the occurrence of heatstroke as far as possible. Consult your vet the moment you suspect that your dog has encountered heatstroke; provide primary care till the time you take them to the vet.