During summer, you probably want to spend as much time in the fresh outdoors as possible. Having your favorite doggo in tow makes the experience that much sweeter but spending extra time outside does come with a few risks. When temperatures are hot, for example, your dog could experience heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. Fortunately, we can help you be a proactive pet parent to ensure your dog stays happy, healthy, and hydrated all summer long.
As they say, knowledge is power. Knowing that dog heat exhaustion and heat stroke are even a thing is step number one in protecting your pet from falling ill. Understanding the potential signs and symptoms — so you know what to look for — also helps.
Basically, canine heat exhaustion is the precursor to heat stroke. If you think your dog is experiencing fatigue from the heat, then it’s important to act quickly so that things don’t escalate any further.
Signs of heat exhaustion in dogs include the following:
Signs of heat stroke in dogs
The more dangerous heat stroke can occur when dogs are exposed to extreme heat situations (such as being trapped in a hot car or building), or in cases when they’ve experienced an extended period of heat exhaustion without any relief. You’ll likely see all the above symptoms in moderate to extreme severity.
“For dogs suffering from heat stroke, temperatures are usually over 105 and vomiting and diarrhea are also common,” says Dr. Chris Roth, the in-house veterinarian for Pets Best Health Insurance. “Internal organ dysfunction can occur, including heart issues, seizures, bleeding issues, and other metabolic abnormalities.”
Other visible symptoms can include muscle tremors, signs of dizziness such as falling or bumping into things, and suddenly passing out.
Prevention is actually pretty straight-forward: Keep your pups away from situations where they could overheat. Bear in mind that dogs have a harder time cooling off compared to humans since they don’t have sweat glands, so extra precaution is necessary.
“If your dog is experiencing heat exhaustion, minimal treatment is needed. What’s most important is getting your dog proper hydration and into to a cool environment,” notes Dr. Roth.
She adds, “Heat stroke, on the other hand, is a true veterinary emergency and the pet should be seen right way by a veterinarian. Immediately provide active cooling, with cool water and evaporation — but never put ice packs on the dog. Heat stroke can lead to a multitude of life-threatening complications, so act quickly.”
Now that you know that heat exhaustion and heat stroke in dogs are a real concern — and what signs to look for — you’ve shielded your pup from that becoming a reality. Have fun this summer and keep cool and hydrated!
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