Dogs can be sensitive to heat, and not many people realize this. You might have thought that your dog would not get too hot even when it’s warm outside because they are panting. The thing that people do not realize is that dog heatstroke can happen quite easily to dogs because they are not very efficient at sweating.
If you are worried about dog heatstroke, you need to know more about this condition and how it can happen. Being information will help make sure that your dog is not a victim of this serious condition that can take a dog’s life in a matter of hours. Dog heatstroke is easier to avoid than you might think, and you will be glad that you educated yourself so that your dog is never at risk of getting overheated and becoming sick.
What is Dog Heatstroke?
Dog heatstroke happens when your dog’s internal temperature gets above 101.5. This is technically a fever, and the medical term for this is hyperthermia. When your dog’s temperature gets this far above normal, your dog might be experiencing heatstroke. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but in most cases, the issue is that dogs can only cool off by sweating through the pads of their feet and panting.
Dog heatstroke is always life-threatening, and you will need to act right away to make sure that you can save your dog’s life. The sooner that you act, the more likely that you will be to save your dog from death or long-term health issues related to their heatstroke event.
Symptoms of Dog Heatstroke
The symptoms of dog heatstroke are usually quite apparent and easy to spot. You will need to pay attention to these signs and symptoms anytime that your dog is exerting on a hot day.
- Excessive panting
- Glazes eyes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Excessive thirst
- Lack of coordination
- Profuse salivation
- Red or purple tongue
Dogs that are overweight and dogs that are quite young or old are the most at risk for this condition. However, any dog of any age can succumb to heatstroke if they are not cared for properly when the temperature is very hot.
How to Protect Your Dog from Heatstroke
Protecting your dog from heatstroke is the best way to keep your pet safe while being outside.
Check the Temperature
The best protection against heatstroke is to prevent it from happening at all. Make sure that you are aware of the ambient temperature before you take your dog out on a hike or a walk in the summer. Anytime it’s more than 80 degrees out, you will want to consider heatstroke a risk. You can also feel the pavement to be sure that it is cool enough to the touch that your dog’s feet will not get burned. The humidity index can also impact the overall experience of the temperature, and if the humidity is high, your dog might get overheated much more quickly than normal.
Provide Your Dog with Water
Make sure that you always bring water for your dog when you leave the house and a travel water bowl that can be used to give them their water. Dogs cannot drink efficiently out of water bottles, and you do not want to struggle to give them water while they are exerting. Some people also travel with a towel that they can wet down with water and tie around their dog if they are too hot. Making sure that your dog is hydrated (to protect them from dehydration) and has access to shade can make all the difference in the prevention of heatstroke in the first place.
Treatment of Heatstroke
If your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, you will need to know what the best treatments are for this condition.
Go to the Vet
This is a life-threatening condition that requires a visit to the veterinarian right away. You will want to get your dog to the vet so that they can be treated promptly to control their body temperature and help protect their organs.
Cool Their Body
Most dogs that have heatstroke will need IV fluids, and they might need to be cooled down carefully with a cold-water bath. There are various medications that can be given to help control inflammation in the body and protect the organs, and your vet will also be likely to give electrolytes to your dog to help them to recover their normal blood values and cool their body.
Control Vomiting and Diarrhea
Heatstroke treatment is often mostly about controlling vomiting and diarrhea as well as the high temperature of your dog’s body. This is why an emergency vet visit is so important. Many of these treatments are not possible to deliver outside the animal hospital, and you can only do so much for your pet on your own at your house. Dogs with heatstroke will almost always require emergency care for this condition which can necessitate multiple days in the vet hospital.
Heatstroke is a Serious Condition That Should be Avoided
If you have a dog who loves to go on walks or hikes with you, you will need to make sure that you consider the temperature and weather conditions before you bring them along in the summer months. Even if you do not feel hot, you need to remember that your dog cannot cool themselves off as efficiently as you can and take this into consideration. Hot weather that you can deal with comfortably as a human can easily be too warm for your dog to enjoy safely.
Make sure that you always check the weather before you leave the house with your dog and bring water and a water bowl with you wherever you go. Not every place you walk or hike with your dog will have dog watering stations that you can use to take care of your pet. Having easy access to water is one of the most important ways that you can prevent heatstroke in dogs even when the weather is not that hot. Make sure that you head to the vet right away if your dog is showing any signs of heatstroke. This is a serious condition and one that you cannot ignore.
Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.