Tips on How to Recognize and Avoid Heat Stroke
Did you know that the dog-days of summer can be deadly to your dog? As the temperature and humidity rises, so does the occurrence of heat stroke. While you may think your dog can handle the heat, companion dogs are not like wolves in the wild. They are domesticated and that means they are not equipped to handle extreme temperatures.
Sun and humidity can be a recipe for disaster for you and your dog alike. Unlike you, your dog only sweats through his paws and it is minimal and that. He will pant to cool himself off but in extreme temperatures or high humidity, panting is not effective. Puppies and older dogs have an even harder time cooling off in extreme temperatures thereby making them even more susceptible to heat stroke.
Initial Signs of Heat Stroke:
- Difficulty breathing
- Bright red tongue and mucous membranes
- Thick saliva
- Staring or glazed over eyes
Rectal temperature of over 103 degrees
After shock sets in:
- Gray lips and mucous membranes
If your dog exhibits signs of heat stroke, he must be cooled down immediately. Bring him into an air conditioned building. Cool him off by wetting his paws with cool water and placing him in front of a cool fan. Then, alternate by placing him in a tub of cool (not ice cold) water. Continue this process until his rectal temperature measures 103 degrees. Notify your vet and seek medical attention as soon as possible. There are complications associated with heat stroke and your dog must be examined.
- Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather.
- Don’t let your dog exercise in the extreme heat and humidity.
- Never muzzle your dog in extreme heat.
- Do not let your groomer muzzle your dog and then put him under the hair dryer.
- Never confine your dog outside without shade and fresh water.
- If your dog is feverish or has a history or heat stroke or seizures, take extra steps to keep him cool.