As the temperatures warm up over spring and summer, many of us are keen to get outdoors and enjoy the better weather with our dogs. However, it’s important to be aware that dogs can easily suffer from heat stroke during the warmer months.
Heat stroke occurs when a dog becomes so overheated that his/her bodily tissues become damaged. This is obviously a more serious condition than just getting too warm (eg. Increased panting, wanting to rest, feeling thirsty). However, it doesn’t take long for a dog to progress from being a little too warm, to experiencing heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in very serious organ damage that may or may not be reversible with treatment. Heat stroke can also result in death.
It doesn’t take very long at all, for a dog to heat stroke – for example, a dog can die within minutes if left in a hot car without shade and adequate ventilation. On a warm day, a closed up car can act like an oven!Erin Coomer - Veterinarian (October 2013)
The common risk factors for heat stroke are:
- Hot and humid conditions.
- Exercising in hot/warmer weather
- Overweight or obese dogs
- Dogs with a lot of hair
- Dogs with current heart or lung disease
- Older animals
- Brachycephalic breeds (eg. British bulldogs, pugs) or dogs with airway problems...
Due to the serious nature of heat stroke, there are many possible clinical signs that can be observed. Here are the most common ones:
- Breathing difficulties
- Not eating
- Changes in pulse and heart rate
- Abnormal gum colour
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If you are worried about heat stroke – TAKE YOUR DOG TO A VET ASAP.
Without treatment, dogs can quickly die from heat stroke.
Your Vet will promptly examine your dog. A temperature above 40C/104F is concerning.
However, a low body temperature
(hypothermia) is not a good sign either.
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