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Heatstroke in Dogs - Signs, Treatment & Prevention

Heatstroke in Dogs - Signs, Treatment & Prevention

It's important for pet owners to know about heatstroke in dogs. Our Douglasville vets have compiled a list of symptoms and preventative measures you can take to protect your pup from this serious condition. Make sure you're informed so that if needed, you'll be ready with quick action!

What is heatstroke in dogs?

As the weather warms up, keeping our furry companions safe and healthy is more important than ever. Heatstroke in dogs is a real danger—it can quickly become fatal if not addressed in time! 

Hyperthermia occurs when your pup's body temperature rises above its normal range of 101.5 °F, but upon reaching 105 °F or higher, this indicates heat exhaustion-also known as heat stroke.

Ensure you're watching for signs that indicate hyperthermia, such as excessive panting or lethargy, so you can take preventive measures before they enter the danger zone!

Causes of Heatstroke in Dogs

On summer days, a vehicle's temperature can quickly exceed dangerous levels (even when the inside of our vehicles does not seem “that hot” to us, remember that your dog has a fur coat on). Leave the dog at home while you shop is a good prevention.

A lack of access to water and shade in your backyard or at the beach can also spell trouble. Shade and water are vital on warm weather days, especially for dogs with medical conditions such as obesity and senior dogs.

Your dog's breed could also be a contributing factor when it comes to heatstroke; flat-faced, short-nosed pups tend to be more vulnerable to breathing issues. As you might imagine, thick coats quickly become uncomfortable. Each dog (even those who love spending time outside engaging in activities) requires close supervision, especially when the mercury is rising.

Heatstroke Symptoms in Dogs

During spring and summer, watch carefully for signs of heatstroke in dogs, including any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Mental “dullness” or flatness
  • Red gums
  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  • Drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Seizures
  • Unable or unwilling to move (or uncoordinated movement)
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness or collapse

If your pooch is displaying any of the above heatstroke symptoms, it's time to act.

What To Do If you see Signs of Heatstroke in dogs

If you suspect your pup is experiencing heatstroke, act quickly for treatment! Seek out a cooler area with plenty of air circulation for them to rest. 

To check if their temperature has increased above the normal range (104 °F or higher), consider using an accessible rectal thermometer. If temperatures reach 105 °F and beyond, there are some steps you can take:

Hose or sponge their body down with lukewarm water, paying special attention to the stomach region; Use a fan to lend extra cooling aid as well - then get on the phone immediately and contact your vet's office OR the emergency clinic nearest to you for further instructions.

How to Help Prevent Your Dog From Getting Heatstroke

Protecting your pooch from heatstroke is incredibly important during the summer months! Keep them out of direct sunlight, and provide lots of shade and fresh water to stay cool.

NEVER leave dogs in cars with closed windows; they could overheat quickly. Investigate purchasing dog crates or restraints specifically designed for travel safety, if necessary. However, when in doubt, always consult a vet for accurate advice regarding pet care needs!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs should never be ignored. If your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, contact Douglasville vets right away or take your pet to the nearest 24/7 emergency animal clinic for urgent care.

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Douglasville Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Douglasville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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