When the weather gets hot in the summer your canine companion is at a higher risk for heatstroke which is why our vets in Argyle explain the symptoms, causes, and treatments of this potentially deadly condition in dogs.
Our human bodies sweat so we can cool down. However, dogs pant to lower their body temperatures. If your pup gets too hot and panting isn't enough for them to cool off, their body temperature will increase which could cause heatstroke.
Heatstroke is an extremely serious condition that can be fatal if it's not treated right away. That's why we are letting all dog parents know about the signs and symptoms of heatstroke in dogs.
What causes heatstroke in dogs?
Dogs can develop heatstroke in any hot environment. That said, the most common cause of heatstroke is a careless action by a pet parent, such as leaving their dog in a car on a hot day or forgetting to provide sufficient water and shade when their pet is outdoors in the hot summer weather.
Even though all dogs can develop heatstroke, some dogs are more prone to the condition than others. If your dog has thick fur, a short nose or suffers from any underlying medical conditions, they might be more susceptible to heatstroke.
It's important to know that it's not only neglected dogs that end up with heatstroke. Even well cared for pets who enjoy nutritious food, plenty of exercise and fun outdoor playtime need to be closely monitored for symptoms of heatstroke, on hot and humid days.
Heatstroke symptoms in dogs
Excessive panting is the most obvious symptom of heatstroke in dogs however, other symptoms that dog parents should watch for include drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, mental dullness, loss of consciousness, uncoordinated movement, and collapse.
Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs should always be treated as an emergency! These symptoms can indicate serious medical problems and cause unseen issues, such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, and abnormal clotting of blood. Immediate veterinary care is highly recommended if you think your dog has heatstroke.
What to do if you think your dog has heatstroke
If your dog is showing signs of heatstroke it's important to get them emergency medical attention as soon as possible. If you think that your dog has heatstroke, call your veterinarian or the nearest emergency animal hospital and tell them you are on your way. While traveling to the vet's office, keep the windows open and the air conditioner on full.
Until you can get to the veterinarian, be sure to: remove your dog from the hot environment immediately, let them drink as much cool water as they want but do not force them to drink, and cool your dog off by placing a towel soaked in cold water on their back.
Treating heatstroke in dogs
Typically treatment of heatstroke in dogs includes intravenous fluid therapy to replace fluids and minerals. The vet treating your dog will also monitor your pet for secondary complications such as electrolytes abnormalities, kidney failure, development of neurologic symptoms, abnormal clotting, and changes in blood pressure.
How to prevent your dog from developing heatstroke
If you have a dog, it's very important to be aware of the temperature outside and take appropriate measures to prevent your pets from developing heatstroke, especially in the hot and humid summer months. When your dog is spending time outdoors make sure that their space is well-ventilated with access to plenty of water and shade. If your dog joins you on a car journey, be sure that their crate has good ventilation, and never ever leave your dog in a car with the windows closed.