How to Save your Dog from Heat Stroke?
During the spring months and summers, temperatures rise so much that we even encourage ourselves to go to the beach or the pool to freshen up, put on the air conditioning or throw ourselves in the shade. In contrast, dogs can suffer a heat stroke within few minutes if left in an unfavorable temperature.
It is not surprising, they do not sweat how we do not perspire to lower their temperature, they pant and with it regulate their temperature but it is a much slower process. They are also completely covered with hair, something that increases their temperature a lot and also prevents them from cooling off as fast as humans.
Why are Dogs So Vulnerable to Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke in dogs is not a joke: between 36% and 50% of dogs that suffer a sudden rise in body temperature dies, according to an extensive study coordinated by veterinarians in the University of Minnesota ( USA.). The high summer temperatures and the difficulty of dogs to sweat and lose excess temperature explain why it is so important to know when the animal suffers heat stroke, how to help and how to protect.
The sweat glands of dogs are not evenly distributed all round the body as humans do. They are less and also; they are concentrated mainly in the pads of their legs. What happens when the body temperature of the animal exceeds 39 ºC? Well, the tongue, through panting, is its best way to cool down.
Dog Heat Stroke Symptoms
The symptoms of heat stroke do not usually appear until the internal temperature of the animal exceeds 42°; when sometimes it is too late, so the first warnings should be panting or watching the animal seek to cool its gut by digging in the ground or looking for some wet surface where to lie down.
If you missed the first warnings, these are the symptoms that can indicate that your dog is suffering a severe heat stroke:
• Body temperatures elevated above 42ºC, the normal temperature of a dog should be above 38ºC and 39ºC.
• Increased heart rate and breathing too fast and fatigued.
• Muscular tremors, a considerable decay of its forces.
• The dog's skin acquires a bluish tone derived from a lack of oxygenation of the blood (Cyanosis).
• Small red spots of blood on the skin.
• Renal and hepatic insufficiency.
• Multi-organic failure.
• Altered salivation.
Video of Warning signs that dogs are suffering heat stroke
Can a Dog Survive Heat Stroke?
Even with proper care (and sometimes, with some carelessness), dogs can go into intense heat stress, generating a syndrome called heat stroke as highlighted above. This is a very serious problem, which can culminate with hypotension, disseminated intravascular coagulation, acute renal failure, hepatic necrosis, and death. The use of certain medications, such as antihypertensive and diuretics, may further increase the predisposition of these animals to have this type of problem. With early detection and appropriate treatment, survival rates can reach as high as 90%.
Reasons Why a Dog Can Suffer a Heat Stroke
From research, it has been deduced that one of the major cause of deaths from heat stroke in dogs is the fault of their owners. There are many times when we should not think that a dog is like us, as it cannot be hot and cool as quickly as we do. Some major causes of this condition include:
- Leaving the Dog inside the Car when it's Hot
This is sentencing it to death. It does not matter if it's just a minute because you're going to buy bread and you parked in the second row. A car is an oven and the main cause of death in dogs due to heat stroke. Air conditioning does not affect dogs the same as humans; they need much more to lower their body temperature.
- Leaving a Dog Tied to His House when it is Hot
This is not only torture (and something to report) but is also another leading cause of death in dogs. Some of the heat shocks and others by strangulation with their chain, trying to access more water or shade.
- Going for a Walk in Extreme Temperatures
This is not just imprudence, but a way to torture your dog and cause it to suffer a heat stroke. You protect yourself from the sun with glasses, a hat or putting on some shorts so as not to get hot. How about your dog? Do wait for the environment to be favorable before going for a walk.
Dog Heat Stroke Aftercare
Immersing your dog suddenly in ice-cold water may have the opposite effect to that sought by causing peripheral vasoconstriction, which further hinders the evacuation of heat. The temperature must fall gradually, and the dog must rehydrate and recover the sugar and salts it has lost.
Immediately after the discovery of the heat stroke, the following aftercare procedures should be taken:
• Move the animal to a cool place and do not give it directly to the sun.
• Apply cloths soaked in cold water (not frozen) on the head, neck, belly, chest, and legs. It should not be covered with cold water towels, simply apply cloths or small towels.
• Moisten its mouth with water, without forcing it to drink.
• Take its temperature with a thermometer to see if it goes down to around 39 ° C.
• These cooling measures must be implemented as soon as possible, even before driving the dog to a veterinarian. The goal is to reduce body temperature to subnormal values (39 to 39.5 ° C).
The use of antipyretics is contraindicated, as the rise in body temperature is not related to a febrile syndrome.
A case of heat stroke requires immediate action so we should not hesitate to take it to the veterinarian at the slightest suspicion. If this were not possible, we should focus on making the temperature drop below 42ºC. It is also necessary to take the animal quickly to a veterinarian who will implement a shock treatment and will take care of the consequences of heat stroke such as cerebral edema, kidney failure, heart problems, etc.
Even if the animal has lowered the temperature, it is still not out of danger because its internal organs may be damaged. Therefore, we must take the veterinarian so that some blood tests tell us if all its body organs are working properly.
How Not to React to a Heat Stroke
There are actions that we should avoid in these cases:
• We should not wrap or cover the animal with towels because the heat remains instead of going out.
• Do not use completely frozen water to lower the temperature because we can cause damage to the brain.
• If we have already achieved that the animal falls of 42ºC, it is not necessary to cool it more because this can cause hypothermia.
Tips to Save Your Dog from Heat Stroke
To prevent your pet from getting too hot in the summer, you should take the following precautionary measures into account:
• Do not leave your dog closed in cars exposed to the sun, nor in very hot spaces without ventilation.
• Always give him fresh, clean water.
• Avoid physical exercise in the hottest hours.
• If your dog lives outdoors, you should make sure you have a shaded area or a place where the sun does not hit directly.
• If your dog is long-haired, take it to a canine aesthetic center to cut his hair and get fresher.
• Let your dog bathe in dog-friendly beaches or water ponds, always under your supervision.
Hundreds of dogs are rushed to veterinary hospitals each summer because they suffer from heat stroke. Due to this fact, it is necessary that we understand all this entails and take certain precautions to prevent it as highlighted above.
All information contained in this website is intended for informational purposes only, as I am not a veterinarian. Furthermore, the content of the website should not be understood as an appeal to ignore the instructions or advice that may be issued by your veterinary doctor.