Heatstroke is a serious condition that could kill a dog, so pet owners should keep an eye out for it on hot days. Today, our Memphis vets explain what heatstroke is and how it can be prevented. They also explain what to do if you think your dog is in danger.
What is Heatstroke in Dogs?
Heatstroke, which is also called heat exhaustion, is a serious risk for dogs who live in warm climates or who spend time outside on hot days. It can be fatal. When a dog’s body temperature goes above 101.5°F, this is called hyperthermia or fever.
Heatstroke is a type of hyperthermia that happens when your dog’s body’s ways of getting rid of heat are overwhelmed by too much heat. When your dog’s body temperature goes above 104°F, they are in danger. When a person’s body temperature goes over 105°F, this is a sign of heatstroke.
Causes of Heatstroke in Dogs
The temperature inside a car can quickly reach dangerous levels (even when the inside of our vehicles does not seem “that hot” to us, remember that your dog has a fur coat on). Don’t take the dog shopping with you.
Problems can also happen if there isn’t enough shade or water in your backyard or at the beach. On hot days, dogs need water and shade, especially older dogs and dogs with weight problems or other health problems.
Heatstroke in Dogs: Symptoms to Watch For
During the spring and summer, and when it’s hot, keep a close eye on any dogs you care for signs of heatstroke, such as any of the following:
- Excessive panting
- Mental flatness or “dullness”
- Signs of discomfort
- Unable or unwilling to move
- Red gums
- Collapsing or loss of consciousness
Dogs can get better if the signs of heatstroke are caught early. If you see any of the above symptoms in your dog, take them right away to a cooler place with good airflow. If your dog’s symptoms don’t get better quickly and you can’t take his temperature, call your vet or the Animal Emergency Center right away for help.
If you have a rectal thermometer, you can take your dog’s temperature there. If your dog’s temperature is over 104°F, this is an emergency and they need to see a vet right away. Heatstroke is a very serious problem that needs to be treated right away. Whether you can lower your dog’s temperature or not, you should take them to the vet right away.
How to Help Prevent Your Dog From Getting Heatstroke
Be careful about how much time you let your dog spend outside or in the sun in the summer to keep your dog from getting heatstroke. Do not leave your dog out in the heat and humidity. Their bodies can’t handle it, especially those with short faces.
Even if you park in the shade, NEVER leave your dog in a car with the windows shut. Give your dog plenty of places to hide in the shade and easy access to cool water. A dog crate with good airflow or a seat belt made just for dogs may also work well.