Friday, July 20, 2012

Preventing and Rescuing Your Dog from Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is an emergency and requires immediate treatment. If you suspect your dog is having a heat stroke, you need to act  right away. If you are confused, simply call us at 804-784-8722 and we’ll ask questions and guide you. Dogs do not sweat, so they pant to exchange warm air with cool air. When it’s super hot outside, this is not an efficient process so they do not tolerate hot climate as well as we do.
If you suspect heat stroke, call us at 804.784.VRCC (8722) prior to bringing him to VRCC and we’ll help you on the phone
For example, on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a car that is parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees and can exceed 160 degrees if parked in the sun.

What are the symptoms of canine heat stroke?

Your dog will probably have heavy panting and difficulty breathing as well as an unsteady gait. The tongue and mucous membranes will appear bright red and the dog’s saliva will be thick. The dog will probably vomit and/or have bloody diarrhea and most likely will have a rectal temperature from 104° to 110°F (40° to 43.3°C).
If your dog goes into shock, the lips and mucous membranes will turn gray. Collapse, seizures, coma, and death happen rapidly at this point.

Situations that can put your canine at risk for heat stroke include:

  • Being left in a car in hot weather (Just don’t, OK?)
  • Exercising strenuously in hot, humid weather
  • Flat-nosed breeds, especially a Bulldog, Pug, or Pekingese are susceptible
  • Dogs suffering from heart/lung disease that interferes with efficient breathing
  • Being confined on concrete or asphalt surfaces
  • Being confined without shade and fresh water in hot weather
  • A history of heat stroke

What you should do?

Remove the dog from the hot area immediately. Prior to taking him to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by wetting him thoroughly with cool (NOT COLD) water. For small dogs, use tepid water, then increase air movement with a fan. Offer water or a child cup re hydrating solution if the dog can drink on his own. DO NOT try to force-feed cold water!

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