Indicators of Heatstroke in Dogs

Indicators of Heatstroke in Dogs

As you may know dogs do not sweat, and because of this, it is important to recognize the signs of heatstroke. Heatstroke can result is serious medical complications in dogs, including the possibility of death. Below is a list of signs that may indicate a dog is suffering from heatstroke.

1. Heaving Panting: The main way dogs cool off is by panting.  When exposed to warmer temperatures dogs usually start with a slightly opened mouth light panting. As they get warmer it will progress to fully open-mouthed pant accompanied with a swollen tongue that hangs out to the side. Get dog inside (with a fan or air conditioning) or to a shady area and give fresh water.

2. Excessive Drooling:  Drooling is perfectly normal b drooling excessively while in hot temperatures means your dog is having a hard time cooling off. Creating excess saliva helps your dog dissipate heat better than just panting alone. Get dog inside and give cool water.

3. Lying Down Often During Walks: If your dog stops frequently for breaks or lies down, this is clear sign that he is becoming overheated. Offer him some cool water and get him inside. If the animal collapses from the heat, wet his coat with cool water or a cooling blanket and get him to the veterinarian immediately.

4, Fast or Irregular Heartbeat: A racing heartbeat  is the body’s attempt to pump as much overheated blood as possible to the extremities and away from vital organs. If this happens after dog is exposed to heat, rush him to the veterinarian.

5. Other Indicators: If dogs exhibits moderate to severe lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea (especially bloody), lack of appetite or neurologic signs such as stumbling and seizures at any point after being in the heat, seek veterinary attention immediately.

To help your dog cool off, wet your dog with cool but NOT iced water or ice in order to bring the body temperature down. It may seem counterintuitive but the body’s response to the ice or iced water may actually prevent heat loss. Then check your dog’s initial body temperature as you begin to cool him off and recheck every 10-15 minutes. Once you reach 103°F you can stop cooling and consider seeking medical care, especially if your dog was exposed to prolonged heat or if the initial temperature reading was greater than 105 degrees.


 [Pet MD]
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