Heatstroke in dogs: causes, symptoms and how to avoid it

Heatstroke in dogs is very serious and can be fatal. In this article, we will know what heat stroke is and what are the causes and symptoms that you should pay attention to and thus be prepared in the hottest months.

Dogs regulate their body heat by panting primarily. They cannot regulate their body temperature through sweat as they only produce sweat in areas not covered by furs, such as the pads of the feet and the nose. Panting allows the blood to cool as cold air passes through the blood vessels in the mouth. However, if the surrounding air temperature is too high, this method will not be effective, and if the dog’s body temperature exceeds 42 ° C, heatstroke can lead to death.

Causes of heat stroke or heatstroke in a dog

Overheating during exercise
The duration and intensity of exercise for pets should always be gradually increased. However, during the warmer months, it is essential that you pay close attention to your dog for any signs of heatstroke, as well as provide plenty of water and periods of rest during exercise.

Long periods outside when it’s hot
During hot days, if your dog spends too much time outside, it will heat up, since, after all, it is covered in fur. Generally, dogs should never be left outside for long periods of time, without access to cool, shady areas or drinking water.

Also Read: Does a dog mourn its owner?

Leave it inside the car or in another closed space
As you already know, we should never leave our dogs in a car for long periods of time. Even on days that do not seem especially hot, since the normal body temperature of a dog is about 38.6 ºC, and in just 15 minutes a dog can die from the heat in such a space. In many countries, it is a crime to leave a dog locked in a car, and no wonder! If you find a dog trapped in a car, try to help him by trying to locate the owner or the police.

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Symptoms of heatstroke

The first signs of heatstroke can be subtle, but it’s important to know the warning signs to look out for:

  • Faster or heavier panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Bright red gums (dry when touched)
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness or fainting
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First aid in case of heat stroke

If a dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, it is important to act quickly by following these steps:

  • Try to calm him down and move him to a cool area.
  • Give it cold water, but not ice cold.
  • Contact your vet.
  • Place wet towels on her stomach, armpits, and pads.
  • Refresh their head, ears, paws, and fur with cold water and a bucket or sponge. Watch out! Do not put your head in the water to avoid aspiration pneumonia.
  • Never give anti-inflammatory medications to a dog with heat stroke.

If your dog suffers from mild heat stroke, he will likely make a full recovery with the steps above. However, if your condition is severe or treatment is delayed, you may suffer organ damage or even die. Contact your vet as soon as you notice the symptoms of heat stroke. The faster treatment is started, the better the prognosis.

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Which dogs are at particular risk for heat stroke?

Some dogs are especially susceptible to heat stroke, such as brachycephalic dogs (due to their narrow airways), puppies, overweight dogs, and those with thick fur, heart disease, or respiratory problems.

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How to prevent heat stroke?

Photo by Sandra Seitamaa on Unsplash

Even during the warmer months, it is important for your dog to maintain his exercise routine, both for his physical well-being and for his mental well-being and happiness.

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