As temperatures get warmer outside, a workout in the sun might be a good idea for you, but your dog might be at risk of heat-related death. Field dogs are more vulnerable to dehydration and overheating, but all dogs can be at risk, which is why you need to know the symptoms of heat stroke and how to prevent it.
While you have sweat glands all over your body to help regulate body heat, your dog's sweat glands are confined to their nose and feet only, which is why they can easily overheat if allowed to exert themselves in extreme conditions.
Some dogs are at a higher risk of overheating, including puppies, older dogs, dogs with chronic illnesses and brachycephalic breeds. This guide will help you keep your canine safe from heat-related conditions such as heat exhaustion, dehydration and heatstroke.
What is heatstroke?
This refers to a condition where your dog is unable to regulate its body temperature. Dogs usually rely on panting to cool themselves down, but this may not be sufficient especially if they overexert themselves in extreme heat.
Once the dog starts overheating, dehydration sets in which is usually characterized by sunken eyes, heavy panting and a dry nose and gums. If the dog does not cool down, heatstroke soon kicks in which can be notable by symptoms such as blue gums, noisy or labored breathing, vomiting and disorientation.
Convulsing, collapsing or even death may follow shortly after if the dog is not treated immediately. To prevent overheating and heatstroke, avoid walking your dog during extremely hot days or leaving them locked in your car under direct sunlight, and ensure you watch out for signs of dehydration. You should also give your canine time to rest after a period of excretion.
What to do if your dog overheats
If you notice any signs of overheating, take your dog to a cool area immediately and cover their hind legs, ears and groin area with wet towels to help cool them down. You should then take the dog to an animal clinic for immediate treatment so as to prevent the possibility of heatstroke.
Vets usually administer cool IV fluids and apply alcohol on the dog's ears and groin to lower their body temperature. In cases of serious overheating, a breathing tube or artificial ventilation may be needed, as well as a diagnosis to determine whether any internal organs are affected.
Heatstroke could be potentially serious if untreated, so be sure to watch out for the signs of overheating so as to keep your dog cool and safe this spring. Talk to experts at places like the Animal Emergency Clinic for more information.