Heatstroke And Your Dog: What You Need To Know

Summertime is a great time for taking your dog outdoors to roam around in parks, on hikes, or to just hangout in the backyard. However, dogs, just like people, are subject to overheating and heatstroke. You should know what heatstroke is, the symptoms of heatstroke, how to treat it and how to prevent it. 

What is Heatstroke?

Heatstroke occurs when your dog cannot properly regulate its body temperature in hot weather, and his temperature rises to dangerous degrees. Dogs eliminate excess heat in their body by panting, but if their panting is not enough, then their body temperature will rise. Dogs are particularly prone to heatstroke due to their furry bodies. 

Symptoms of Heatstroke

One of the first symptoms that you should look out for if you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke is extremely heavy panting and heavy breathing. The heavy panting is your dog trying to work off extra heat. Early on in heatstroke, your dog will produce excess saliva. However, as heatstroke progresses, your dog's mouth will start to dry up. As heatstroke progresses, your dog will become disoriented and weak and might start to vomit. 

Treating Heat Stroke

If you catch your dog in the early stages of heatstroke, there are a few things that you can do. Run a cool shower and place your dog under the shower head, ensuring that every area on his body is exposed to the cool water. You can also apply a frozen ice pack to your dog's head to help lower his temperature. Provide your dog with plenty of water and let him drink as much as possible. If heatstroke has gotten to the point where your dog is confused, vomiting or weakened, you need to take him to the animal hospital. 

Preventing Heatstroke

If you are doing outdoor summertime activities with your dog, ensure that he has access to plenty of shade that he can rest in periodically. Sitting in the shade and panting will allow him to lower his body temperature. Make sure that he has access to plenty of cool water to drink, and let him drink as much as he wants. If the day is particularly hot, try to avoid strenuous exercise outdoors. Finally, if your dog has a particularly thick coat, you might want to get him shaved. 

If you can keep your dog properly hydrated, you can both enjoy the warm outdoors during summertime together. Be sure to keep an eye out for the symptoms of heatstroke so you can take your dog to an animal hospital like Howard County Animal Hospital if necessary.