Understanding and Responding to Heat Stroke in Dogs: Symptoms and First Aid

Heat stroke is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition for dogs, primarily because they lack the ability to dissipate excess heat through sweating. This guide provides crucial information on recognizing heat stroke symptoms and how to take immediate action if your dog is affected.

Dog on cliff in summer

Identifying Heat Stroke Symptoms

It’s vital to be aware of the signs of heat stroke in dogs, which may include:

  • Excessive Panting and Intensely Red Mucous Membranes/Gums
  • Elevated Heart Rate and laboured Breathing
  • Episodes of Vomiting and Diarrhoea
  • Restlessness, Confusion, or Seizures
  • Elevated Body Temperature
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Immediate Steps if Your Dog Suffers from Heat Stroke

Acting swiftly is crucial in a heat stroke situation

Begin by Stabilizing Body Temperature

Immerse your dog with extreme care in water or gently rinse them with cool water (around 15 degrees Celsius). Avoid using ice-cold water, as it can cause blood vessels to constrict, diminishing the cooling effect.

Utilize Wet, Cold Towels

En route to the veterinarian, wrap your dog in damp, cold towels. Regularly change them to maintain their cooling effect.

Seek Professional Veterinary Care

Heatstroke is a medical emergency that necessitates immediate attention from a veterinarian. They will continue the treatment to stabilize and gradually lower the body temperature.

Understanding How Dogs Regulate Temperature

Unlike humans, dogs don’t possess sweat glands, except for slight dampness on their paws during moments of stress. Panting serves as their primary method of cooling down, redirecting blood flow through the mouth. However, in warm and humid conditions, panting might have a counterproductive effect.

Preventing Heat Stroke in Dogs

To safeguard your dog from heat stroke, follow these essential precautions:

Provide Adequate Ventilation, Water, and Shade

Ensure your dog always has access to fresh air, water, and a shaded area.

Exercise Caution in Hot Weather

Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day. If you go for walks or engage in exercise, be mindful of the temperature.

Avoid Overexertion

When cycling or partaking in vigorous exercise, be cautious not to overexert your dog, particularly on scorching days.

Never Leave a dog in the car

Never leave your dog in a car, even for a few minutes. Even with the windows down, temperatures in a car can be double of what the outside temperature is. This is the single most common way dogs get heat stroke

Recognizing the symptoms of heat stroke in dogs and responding promptly with appropriate first aid measures can make all the difference. By prioritizing your dog’s well-being and taking preventive measures, you can ensure they stay safe and comfortable, even in the hottest weather conditions. Always remember that professional veterinary care is essential in cases of heat stroke.