Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Recognizing Heat Stroke in Dogs

In case you missed it, here are some tips to keep your dogs safe this summer. Failure to keep your dog cool can result in heat stroke, which can be deadly for your pup. 

Normal body temperature in dogs ranges from 100 - 102.5 degrees. Heatstroke occurs in dogs when their body temperature reaches 104 degrees or higher. Above 106 degrees is considered severe and can be deadly, you need to seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Here are some signs of heatstroke to be wary of:

Early Stages:
  • Heavy panting or rapid breathing
  • Excessive drooling with thick, sticky saliva
  • Bright red gums and tongue
Advanced Stages:
  • White or blue gums
  • Lethargy, unwillingness to move
  • Vomiting
  • Uncontrollable urination or diarrhea
  • Labored, noisy breathing
  • Shock
  • Seizure

If your dog is showing early or moderate signs of heatstroke, take immediate action. Here are some tips to cool them down before or on your way to the vet: 
  • Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog's paw pads.
  • Apply ice packs or cold, wet towels to the groin area, neck and under forearms. 
  • Hose down with water. **Be sure not to use super cold water - cool water or, for small dogs, lukewarm water. 
  • If you have access, bring into the air conditioning and lay in front of a fan.
  • Allow the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water.
  • Offer Pedialyte or dillute gatorade in water to restore electrolytes. **Do not force dog to drink as they may inhale and choke. 

It's recommended to take your dog to the vet even after you've cooled them down to their normal body temperature. This is because the heatstroke could've done damage to internal organs, they could be dehydrated or have other complications. 

Dogs that suffer from heatstroke once are more susceptible to getting it again, so be cautious and take steps to prevent further issues.

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