The summer months can be quite hot, putting your pet at risk for heatstroke. Today our Rancho Palos Verdes vets talk about the signs and symptoms of heatstroke in dogs and how you can help.
Heat Stroke In Dogs
Heatstroke usually occurs in the summer months when it is hot and your pet's core body temperature rises above normal at a faster rate than their bodies can cool themselves down. This could make their entire body take an inflammatory response, which can result in organ failure and even be fatal.
Other factors that can cause heatstroke in dogs include excessive exercise, not enough shade, dehydration, and a warm/ humid environment without enough circulation, such as being in an unventilated car or being left outside on a hot day.
There are a number of factors that could increase your pet's risk of heatstroke, including:
- Thick fur/ coat
- Age (young or old pets)
- Flat-faced pets (Bulldogs, Scottish terriers, etc.)
If you believe your pet has heatstroke it is considered an emergency that requires immediate veterinary care.
Signs And Symptoms Of Heatstroke In Dogs
There are several signs you should watch out for to determine if your dog has heat exhaustion/ heatstroke and we have listed them below:
- Excessive panting
- No or little urine
- Delirium/ mental confusion
- Red or pale gums
- Muscle tremors
- Red tongue
- Heart rate increase
- Distressed breathing
- Rapid breathing
If your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, get in touch with your veterinarian right away! Heatstroke is a very serious condition that requires urgent care.
First Aid Care for Pet Heatstroke
Before taking your pet to the vet or if you can't get there immediately there are several things you can do to bring down your dog's body temperature at home.
- First, remove them from the hot environment as fast as you can.
- Place cool (not cold) water or cloths on their bodies to help cool them down. Don't use ice packs, ice cubes or cold water as it can worsen their condition.
- Aim a fan at them to implement evaporative cooling.
- Keep the air conditioner on the entire time you are in the car taking them to the vet.
- Your pet has to be cooled down gradually, trying to cool your dog too quickly will only make the situation worse, never use ice or ice-cold water.
Call your vet to inform them of your emergency and to let them know you are on your way, they may even provide you with further instructions on how to help your pet, before you get to the animal hospital.
The best treatment for heatstroke is to prevent it from happening altogether, always follow these steps to keep your beloved dog safe from the heat.
- Make sure your pet always has access to shade and fresh drinking water, especially when they are outside in the heat.
- Keep your pet inside on hot days and only bring them outside for bathroom breaks.
- Do not leave your pet in a car! Even on mild days, the temperature in a vehicle can rise very rapidly and this can have fatal repercussions.
- Keep your pet off of hot surfaces with little or no shade such as asphalt, concrete, and stone.
- In a shaded area, keep things such as a kiddie pool or sprinkler so your dog can cool themselves off while playing outside.
- Always keep indoor areas well-ventilated with fans or/ and air conditioning.
- On particularly warm days, don't take your pet outside to exercise until evening, when the air is cooler