Heat stroke in dogs is a veterinary emergency. Treat it immediately it’s the only way to make the dog survive. And it is not always achieved. By not sweating, dogs don’t regulate their body temperature as easily as we do.
As a consequence, in certain situations of heat or in the case of brachycephalic or sick dogs, they can suffer the dreaded heat stroke. This consists of a dangerous rise in body temperature that becomes fatal. Let’s see in detail the causes that cause it and how to act.
Index of contents
- 1 What is a heat stroke?
- 2 Risk situations for heat stroke
- 3 Symptoms of heat stroke in a dog
- 4 How to deal with heat stroke?
- 5 Tips to prevent heat stroke
What is a heat stroke?
To understand the danger of heat stroke for dogs, we must know how they regulate their body temperature. Dogs don’t sweat, so they have a harder time cooling off in hot weather than we do. Dogs use panting to exchange hot air from their body for the coldest one that should be in the environment.
When your body temperature and outdoor temperature are very similar, a serious problem can be triggered because panting will not be enough to cool you down.. In these situations it becomes impossible for your temperature to drop.
Unlike, if it rises, the so-called heat stroke will originate. It is an emergency because a high temperature is incompatible with life. Hence the urgency of achieving its descent and stabilizing the affected dog.
Risk situations for heat stroke
Although any dog can suffer from heat stroke, since all resort to the panting mechanism to regulate their body temperature, some physical conditions increase the risk, the same as certain situations. We highlight the following:
- Leave the dog inside a car in hot weather.
- Practice intense exercise at high temperatures.
- Heart or lung diseases that make breathing difficult.
- Use of the muzzle in hairdressing sessions in which work with the hair dryer.
- Cement or asphalt surfaces.
- Absence of places in the shade.
- Having suffered from heat stroke in the past.
- Brachycephalic breeds like the Bulldog or the Pug, due to its particular anatomical conformation.
Symptoms of heat stroke in a dog
The symptoms observed in the dog that is suffering from heat stroke can be more or less severe. In any case, we must always intervene at the first suspicious sign of this pathology. The most common are the following:
- Panting heavily, trouble breathing.
- Intense red coloration of the mucosa.
- Thick saliva and / or vomiting.
- Body temperature above 40 ºC, being able to exceed 43.
- Bloody diarrhea
- Shock. In this situation the dog will have gray mucous membranes.
- Collapse, seizures
- Eat, death.
How to deal with heat stroke?
Any indication of heat stroke requires a quick response. This will be the only chance to save the dog’s life. The ideal would be to transfer him to the vet immediately, but if this is far, we should start the treatment ourselves, following these recommendations:
- Act immediately.
- Take the dog out of the hot place where it is.
- If possible, move it to an air-conditioned room.
- Check the temperature and repeat the measurement approximately every ten minutes.
- Up to 40 ºC it is possible that the dog improves only when changing it to a cool place.
- At higher temperatures needs faster and more intense cooling.
- Depending on where we are, we can put water on it with a hose or put it in a bathtub full of cold water for a couple of minutes.
- Already wet can be put in front of a fan.
- The objective is to reach around 39 ºC.
- If we succeed, we must proceed to drying the dog. In this case, if we continue to cool it down, we risk causing hypothermia. That is, a drop in body temperature that would also be dangerous for the life of the dog.
- In any case, even if we see the dog recovered, it is essential to contact the vet for you to review.
Tips to prevent heat stroke
It seems easy to prevent our dog from suffering from heat stroke. It would be enough not to expose it to high temperatures. But sometimes we are not aware of dangerous situations. We recommend paying attention to the following aspects:
- Dogs that due to their characteristics, whether anatomical or linked to suffering from a disease, present a higher risk should remain indoors, in a cool environment, during the hours of highest temperature.
- You should never leave the dog locked in a car with the windows up, even if the vehicle is parked in the shade.
- Beware of travel. The environment must be kept refrigerated and it is better to use an open metal cage when traveling. If we use a company, let us know beforehand about the conditions of transport they offer.
- We should not encourage the dog to exercise in the hottest hours. In dogs at higher risk even walks are not recommended in those hours.
- The dog must always have good shade while outdoors.
- The fresh water, clean and in sufficient quantity it must be permanently within your reach.
- It is not recommended to keep dogs in enclosures with concrete or asphalt floors.