Every year, several hundred dogs die as a result of heat stroke during the spring and summer months. This phenomenon comes on extremely suddenly but luckily, can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions.
Source: University of Illinois
Dogs don't have the large number of sweat glands that humans possess, and so it is much harder for them to expel heat and regulate their body temperatures. They are only able to produce sweat through their paws, making heatwaves a difficult time for canines. Instead, to help them cool themselves down, their breathing rate will increase in an attempt to get rid of hot and humid air and replace it with fresh, dry air.
If the outside air is itself hot and humid, the canine will no longer be able to regulate their temperature and can, therefore, suffer from heatstroke.
Heatstroke is a very serious problem and can cause death in as little as one hour if not treated rapidly.
Situations that put your dog at risk
Dogs can suffer from heatstroke even as a result of normal everyday situations if their body temperature gets too high, but there are nonetheless certain situations that will put increase their risk and are, therefore, to avoid:
- Exercising on hot and humid days
- Leaving your dog in direct sunlight
- Leaving your dog in the car on a hot day (should be avoided at all costs)
- Hot days for obese and overweight dogs with respiratory problems
The 5 main symptoms of heatstroke
Some symptoms allow quick and easy detection of heatstroke straight away. They are (in the order that they will most likely appear):
- Panting (a large increase in their breathing rate),
- Extreme salivation, foaming at the mouth,
- Sudden and extreme agitation,
- Cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood)
- Despondency, lying face down, followed by convulsions
What to do if your dog suffers from heatstroke
Source: The Spruce
This situation can rapidly become extremely dangerous and even fatal. However, there are a few simple measures that you can take to help your dog in the case of heatstroke:
- Call a veterinarian straight away and describe the situation to them
- Move your dog to a cool area with fresh air
- Cool them down with fresh water and wet towels
- Bring them water and leave them to drink by themselves
Source: Cater News Agency Ltd.
Similarly, there are also a number of actions to avoid at all costs:
- Don't use water that's too cold, particularly not iced water
- Don't cool their body temperature down too low
- Don't leave them alone
- Never force them to drink
By following these rules you will be ready to act quickly in the occasion that your dog suffers from heatstroke, potentially saving his life.
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