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Heat Stroke in Dogs

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Whilst we all enjoy the warmer months of the year, it does come with its precautions. During Spring and Summer, dogs are more prone to get Heat Stroke, so here are the signs and symptoms and what to watch out for.

What is heat stroke?

Heat stroke is a type of non-fever hyperthermia, where by a high temperature is not caused by the animal having a fever.

 

How does heat stroke occur?

Dog’s fur is great in the winter months to keep them warm against the cold, but unfortunately in the summer months it can be very uncomfortable. Dogs can only sweat through their paws, and eliminate heat by panting. Heat stroke occurs when the body can’t accommodate the excess heat, and their temperature rises above normal levels. The dog is then no longer able to self-regulate their temperature to a comfortable level.

 

What contributes to heat stroke?

There are multiple factors that contribute to heat stroke in dogs:

  • Hot weather and humidity
  • Excessive exercise
  • The dog left in a hot car
  • No access to shade or water to help cool down

 

 Symptoms of Heat Stroke.

Below are the symptoms of overheating:

  • Excessive panting
  • Signs of discomfort and restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Dehydration
  • Increased body temperature – Above 103F
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Staggering and wobbly

Below are further symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Unconsciousness

 

What do you do if your dog displays the symptoms of heat stroke.

If your dog shows any symptoms overheating, remove them from the hot environment immediately and start to cool them down.  Put your dog in the shade or cool room with plenty of access to water. If possible cool your dog down with running water and call your vet. Don’t cover your dog with damp towels as they can actually trap heat, and potentially raise the temperature higher.

Prevention is better than cure. Check out our blog article on keeping your dog cool in summer to help prevent your dog from overheating and getting heat stroke.

By Jennifer Nash

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