Heat Stroke in Dogs – What You Should Know
Humans are not the only ones on the planet that can fall prey to heatstroke. Dogs and other animals can find themselves in this heated situation as well. Because many dogs live outdoors, they are more susceptible to having a heat stroke. In fact, heat stroke in dogs happens more often than you might think.
A dog’s normal temperature is already higher than humans, coming in at around 101 degrees so excessive heat and certain medical conditions can be extremely dangerous for them.
Heat stroke in dogs is medically known as hyperthermia, and this usually occurs if the dog’s temperature is 106 or over. This can be very serious and lead to multiple organ malfunctions.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Dogs
High body temp
Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Small to no urination
Sudden kidney failure
Blood in stool
Changes in mental status
Causes and Risk Factors of Heat Stroke in Dogs
Upper airway disease
Thick hair coat
History of heart disease
As you can see, there are more reasons than just excessive heat that can cause heatstroke in your dog so knowing what to look for could very well save their life!
Initial Treatment for Heat Stroke in Dogs
Of course you want to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible; however, there are things you can do to help your dog beforehand. The temperature of your dog will let you know how serious or minor the overheating is. A rectal thermometer can be used for this determination.
First, remove the dog from the hot area if they are in the sun. Move inside whenever possible. Next, you should put cool, wet towels around the dog’s neck, under their armpits, and their hind legs. This will start cooling them down and give them some relief.
If your dog is small enough to be put into the bathtub with cool water, that is best. Add a pinch of salt to help replace some of the minerals they have lost.
You don’t want your dog to get aspiration pneumonia so be sure and keep its head elevated while in the tub.
Doing these few things may help your dog survive until they reach the vet. If your dog is unconscious, then skip this step and head right to the vet. In either case, a trip to the vet is in order.
Dogs need plenty of water and shelter from the heat so it’s important to think about where their shelter outside is and how many hours per day they may be in the sun. Think about what time of day the sun hits their shelter. If its morning time they should be fine, but if the hottest part of the day shines on their shelter then it’s probably too hot for some dogs. Improper shelters are one of the main causes of heat stroke in dogs.
This problem can be fixed by simply turning their dog house to face another direction or building some kind of canvas or wood awning that protects them from the sun.
Other reasons for heat stroke in dogs can be poor health issues. These are usually respiratory issues that stop them from being able to pant correctly or problems like breathing too fast. Problems like these can cause a dog to overheat and experience the same symptoms as a dog that was left out in the heat too long.
Keeping your dog’s immune system healthy includes keeping their blood, respiratory, digestive tract, and other functions operating correctly. This can be helped tremendously with health supplements. Natural supplements can help with these problems and also help become an organic immune booster as well as being natural antibiotics and antiseptics.
Dogs truly are man’s best friend, and they are great companions. They are part of your family and understanding how to recognize and treat heatstroke in dogs will hopefully keep them in your family for years to come.