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Dog Heat Stroke / Hyperthermia

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The National Weather Service warned people in America that there will be the worst heat waves coming this weekend. More than 14 states, temperatures climb well over 100 degrees as this becomes the hottest week of the summer. Is your dog ready for the heat?

Dog fur is great protection against the cold but can be a problem in hot weather. Dogs eliminate heat by panting. When panting isn’t enough, their body temperature rises. Dogs have some sweat glands in the paws which help with heat dissipation, but only minimally. There are some signs for dog stroke:

  • Bright red tongue
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive panting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased body temperature - above 103° F (39° C)
  • Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine
  • Red or pale gums
  • Shock
  • Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  • Weakness

Hyperthermia or dog heat stroke can lead to multiple organ dysfunction which can be fatal. Although most people know that the temperature inside the car can soar to intolerable levels for their dog, but even outdoors in a non-shaded area, the heat can quickly get to your dog and cause serious complications.

To prevent the heat stroke, keep your dog in a cool, shady area with access to plenty of water when is hot and humid. This is especially applicable for young and old dogs, or dogs with airway diseases and breeds with shortened faces. NEVER leave your dog in a car with the windows closed, even if the car is parked in the shade. While traveling in a car, we usually bring a cool pad to let our dogs feel cool and comfortable. Also, put on a cool vest when we walk our dog outside.

In case your dog gets heat stroke, DO NOT panic. Immediately remove your dog from the hot area. Lower the dog’s temperature by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, under the forelimbs, and in the groin area. Carefully and gently transport him to the veterinarian.


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