• jmbsilvestri

Beat the Heat: How to Prevent and Identify Heat Stroke in your Pup!

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

With the dead heat in Orange County right now, having your dogs outside for long periods of time or doing strenuous activities puts them at risk for heat stroke. Some causes for heat stroke in your pet include a hot or humid environment with inadequate ventilation, insufficient shade, and excessive exercise. Don't worry, we have got you covered for the best ways to prevent and identify heat stroke in your dog!

According to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, "heat stroke is identified as a form of hypothermia that occurs when heat-dissipating mechanisms of the body cannot accommodate excessive heat. Body temperatures above 105°F are suggestive of heat stroke."

Now that we have identified what heat stroke is, let's talk about some factors that may increase your dog's risk for heat stroke. If your dog suffers from obesity, breathing difficulties, is very young or old, is considered a flat-faced breed, has a long or thick hair coat, or suffers from dehydration they are more likely to suffer from heat stroke. Being aware of your dog being at a higher risk to heat stroke is very important when exposing them to warm or hot temperatures. With that being said, all dogs and animals can experience heat stroke, no matter what their preliminary conditions or features are.

If you know you are going to be out in the heat, there are a few ways you can prevent your dog from getting heat stroke. The first was and most obvious way is to ensure that your pet has fresh drinking water to cool off with. This will make sure your dog doesn't get dehydrated. The next thing you can do is make sure your dog has access to shade or that you take breaks in places that are well-ventilated, meaning a place with good air flow. This is critical because many animals lose heat when they pant, which they then need good air flow to correct. Next we would recommend you avoid exercising your pets in hot weather and if you do, definitely avoid hot sand, asphalt, concrete and any other areas where the heat reflects and shade is not available. Lastly, NEVER leave your pet in the car even on mild temperature days. This can force their temperatures to rise and can even kill them rapidly.

So how can you recognize heat stroke in your dog? There is a wide variety of symptoms to know. These include:

  • panting

  • dry nose

  • warm to touch

  • drooling

  • rapid heart rate

  • quiet or not very responsive

  • vomiting

  • muscle tremors

  • blood coming from the mouth or in stool

  • seizures

  • staggering

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog, you will want to take them over to a shaded area, then you will want to hose or sponge your dog down with cool, not cold water (cold water can make things worse). You will want to specifically pay attention with the water to their underside. Using a fan during this time can also be helpful.

Once you have completed this process, you will want to go straight to the vet {our fav is Stone Cottage Vet} . In doing all of this, you are allowing the body to start the cooling process prior to getting to the veterinary.

From there, your vet will help the heat stroke with any number of techniques such as putting your dog on a drip, trying different cooling treatments, blood tests to check organ function, giving your dog supplemental oxygen, etc.

It is so important that you get your dog over to the vet even if they seem to be responding better- after your sponge bath because heat stroke can cause organ damage to your dog.

For any questions regarding heat stroke in your pets, we recommend you call your vet. We hope you found this blog post helpful for you and your pup to have a safe and fun rest of your summer! As always, make sure you follow us on social media (@dogmomsofocny) to stay up to date with all blogs, events, and information!

Have a great rest of your summer!

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