Summer is fast approaching, and it’s the perfect time to learn about dogs having a heatstroke. Humans often believe that dogs are fully capable of cooling themselves off by panting. This is not true. Dogs aren’t able to control their body temperature as well as humans. If a dog has a heatstroke, they can easily die. All it takes is for their body temperature to rise above 106.
Signs of a Heatstroke
All dog owners need to be able to recognize the signs of heatstroke.
-Red or pale gums
-Vomiting (with or without blood)
Dogs can have a heatstroke at any time. Owners often believe it can only happen in dogs that are in hot cars. This isn’t true. A heatstroke can happen at any time such as hiking, jogging, playing ball, or just being outside in hot temperatures.
What to Do During a Heatstroke
If you think that your dog may be having a heatstroke, you need to get them out of the heat and sun immediately. Here is a list of things to do to help your dog.
-Lower their body temperature by wetting him in cold water. Never use ice cold water because it can cause a very serious reaction.
-Apply alcohol to the dog’s paw pads, ears, and groin areas. These areas respond quickly to cooling techniques.
-Allow access to water and Pedialyte, but don’t force them to drink. Dogs can choke on water during a heatstroke.
When to go to the Vet
Never hesitate to take your dog to the vet during a heatstroke. You can take your dog’s temperature with a rectal thermometer. Once it reaches 103 degrees, you must get your dog to the vet immediately.
The vet will use oxygen and fluids to get your dog’s temperature to normal. He might want to observe your dog overnight for any shock or organ failure. While a mild heatstroke will generally not leave any lasting effects, a severe heatstroke can cause organ damage. If this occurs, your dog will be at an increased risk for future heatstrokes.
Preventing a Heatstroke
There are a few things that you can do to help lessen the chance of a heatstroke.
-Never leave your dog in a hot car.
-Provide open access to water at all times.
-On hot days, wet your dog or let your dog swim.
-Provide access to shade. Avoid areas, such as a beach, that don’t have any shade.
-Don’t use a muzzle; this stops panting and the dog is unable to regulate their temperature.
-Don’t exercise with your dog outside on hot days.
-Buy a cooling pad for indoors. Dogs can lie on the pad to cool down.
If your dog ever has a heatstroke, follow the suggested tips and get your dog to a vet immediately. Despite the small risk of lasting effects, it’s best to be safe and let a professional check your dog.
If you have anymore questions on dog training, please contact Off Leash K9 Training.
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