Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke in Dogs

With near record high temperatures across the country this summer, it is certainly time to be extra careful when taking your dog for a walk or spending time outside.

And it should go without saying, though many people are still either careless or just uninformed, never leave your dogs inside a care for any length of time when the temperature is hot. Remember, on an 85-degree day, it takes only 10 minutes for the interior of your parked car to climb to 102 degrees. In a half hour, it can reach 120 degrees.

What is important to remember is that dogs do not cool down the same way humans do. They don’t have sweat glands and must lower their internal temperature by panting. However, panting may not always be enough and that is when overheating can occur. The signs include excessively rapid panting, thick drool, and rope-like saliva. As conditions worsen, the gums and tongue, and the skin around the eyes will turn dark pink or bright red. An overheated dog may also exhibit signs of ataxia, that is they appear uncoordinated, wobbly, or have a “drunken” gait or movement.

When is it too hot for your dogs?

HEATSTROKE
Heatstroke in dogs is defined as normal body mechanisms cannot keep the body’s temperature in a safe range. A dog with moderate heatstroke (body temperature from 104º to 106ºF) can recover within an hour if given prompt first aid and veterinary care (normal body temperature is 100-102.5°F). Severe heatstroke (body temperature over 106ºF) can be deadly and immediate veterinary assistance is needed. [source]

HYPERTHERMIA
Hyperthermia can be categorized as either fever or non-fever hyperthermias. Fever hyperthermia results from inflammation in the body (such as the type that occurs secondary to a bacterial infection). Non-fever hyperthermia occurs when heat-dissipating mechanisms of the body cannot accommodate excessive external heat. [source]

Brachycephalic Dogs Face Increased Risks In Hot Weather

BRACHYCEPHALY
Brachycephaly is the shape of a skull shorter than typical for its species. In dogs, this means a broad, short skull, usually with the breadth at least 80 percent of the length. Brachycephalic syndrome is a pathological condition which thus leads to severe respiratory distress. [source]

Short nose breeds like Pugs, Boston Terriers, Pekinese, Boxers, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus are especially at risk in hot weather.

DOGS AT HIGHER RISK
Not all dogs are created alike and brachycephalic breeds, those with flat faces and short noses, don’t pant as efficiently as breeds with longer noses. These include Pugs, Boston Terriers, Pekinese, Boxers, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus. Other groups of dogs which face a greater risk of overheating include older canines, puppies, overweight pets, and those with chronic health conditions like heart disease.

SYMPTOMS OF OVERHEATING
Excessive thirst
Glazed eyes
Vomiting and bloody diarrhea
Bright or dark red tongue, gums
Staggering
Elevated body temperature (104ºF and up)
Weakness, collapse
Increased pulse and heartbeat
Seizures
Excessive drooling
Unconsciousness

TREATMENT
It is urgent to get your dog out of the sun and into the shade or an air-conditioned room if they exhibit signs of over heating. You can reduce your pet’s temperature by putting cool wet towels over their neck, under the armpits, and between the hind legs. Use cool water to wet their ear flaps and paw pads. PETA also suggests soaking your dog in a tub filled with cool water. Do not immerse your dog in ice water. This can lead to shock. As soon as the dog begins to cool down, rush him to the vet.



 

 

SOURCES:
http://www.dogingtonpost.com/how-to-treat-and-possibly-save-overheated-dog/
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2015/06/08/pet-overheating-symptoms.aspx
http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/cardiovascular/c_dg_heat_stroke
http://pets.thenest.com/dog-overheating-symptoms-3881.html
http://www.hillspet.com/en/us/dog-care/healthcare/heat-exhaustion-in-dogs
https://www.thedodo.com/how-to-tell-dog-overheating-1224088290.html
http://www.dogaholic.co.uk/preventing-heatstroke-brachycephalic-dogs/
http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/hyperthermia-dogs-its-not-a-fever
http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/heat-stroke-diagnosis-and-treatment
http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/neurological/c_dg_ataxia

 

 

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