Heat Stroke in Dogs

Heat stroke in dogs is very serious and every dog owner should be aware of the causes, warning signs, and treatment for it. When heat exhaustion occurs your dog is not able to regulate his body temperature properly. Our canine friends pant to keep their body temps regulated. However, there are times when a dog may not be able to keep his body temperature within normal boundaries or cool his body fast enough for his rapidly rising body temperature and a heatstroke occurs.

Hyperthermia - An elevated body temperature due to failed thermoregulation. Hyperthermia occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. When the elevated body temperatures are sufficiently high, hyperthermia is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment to prevent disability or death.
Dr. Andrew Jones offers up some basics for all of us. First, he states emphatically: "Use common sense and never leave your pet alone in a car!" It never seems to fail that people think, I'll just run in and get.... only to come back and find their dog has suffer a heat stroke or worse. Also, while at play... dogs have a tendency to get caught up in the excitement, so pay extra attention to your dog and heed the warning signs of heat stress or heat exhaustion and at the very least know the basic of what to do:

Heat Stroke in Dogs

  • Early Warning Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs:

In the early stages of a heatstroke, your dog will pant rapidly; have thick, ropey saliva; and have bright red gums. His body temperature will be between 104-106°F.

dog thermometerThermoPet Dog Thermometer. The World's first completely non contact thermometer for dogs!

As the body temperature climbs above 106°F, your pet will go into shock with subsequent organ shutdown. Time is of the essence!

Your pet will have pale gums, be weak and dizzy, with vomiting and diarrhea. The brain becomes affected and he may seizure or fall into a coma. Your Miniature Schnauzer now requires immediate, life-saving veterinary intervention.

  • Causes of Heat Stroke in Dogs

The normal body temperature of a dog or cat ranges between 38 - 39°C or 103°F. Our pets maintain this temperature through panting, however sometimes they are unable to lose enough heat. Causes of a heat stroke in dogs can be from over-exertion, heat itself, poor ventilation, excessive humidity, etc... Also dogs that are overweight or older are more susceptible to heat strokes. And while our pets probably do suffer from heat cramps and heat exhaustion the symptoms are mild so we may not recognize them until a heat stroke occurs.

  • Treatment Solutions for Heat Stroke in Dogs

  • OUT OF THE HEAT - Remove your pet from the hot environment. Get him out of the car and away from the sun. Find a shaded area or a place with air condition.

  • TO THE VET ASAP - If you suspect severe heatstroke and your dog has collapsed, get your pet immediate veterinary care. In this case, the organs may be shutting down and your pet needs specialized care to survive. While in transit, it is important to continue to apply cool wet towels to the back of your dog's neck and groin area.

  • WHAT'S THE TEMP? - Use a rectal thermometer and find your pet's exact temperature: if it is 104°F or higher, a heatstroke has occurred, and you need to take action.

  • COOL DOWN - Run cool water over the back of your pet's head. Place cold packs wrapped in towels between the back legs, on the belly and in the armpits. Wet towels can be used instead. You can use a garden hose to run cool water over the back of his head.

  • ALCOHOL SOLUTION - Rubbing alcohol will also speed up heat loss; it can be applied to the belly and groin, cooling your dog as it evaporates. Liberally spread it on the skin; the most important thing is to reduce the temperature in a controlled way.

  • DO NOT IMMERSE IN COLD WATER - This treatment does bring your pet's temperature down, but tends to over correct and then your pet may be seriously unwell, cold and wet.

  • RE-HYDRATE - Let your pet drink as much cold water as he can. If you have an electrolyte replacement, such as Gatorade, then add this to his water. If your pet drinks lots of water at once he is very likely to vomit. Once your pet is refusing water you can leave the bowl of water with it.

  • To know the exact steps in what to do for Heat Stroke in Dogs, and the other most common dog and cat emergencies, I advise you have a copy of my book here:

    Pet First Aid Secrets

    It's Your Pet. Heal Them At Home!
    Dr. Andrew Jones

    heat stroke dogs, cool downSince heat stroke in dogs is such a serious condition, play it safe and take these precautions:

    Preventing Heat Stroke in Dogs

    • Have an easy-to-use thermometer for dogs or use a rectal thermometer to assess your dog's body temperature.
    • Always carry your dog first aid kit on outings so you are better prepared to handle emergencies.
    • Have your vet's phone number programmed into your home phone and cell phone.
    • Don't let your Schnauzer over-do it. Force your dog to take a needed rest under a shaded area and always have a fresh supply of water on hand. These nifty Handi-Drink Water Bottles makes that easy to do.
    • Schedule your Schnauzer's time outdoors for early morning and late evenings when Summer temps are at their lowest.
    • Stay off hot pavements and asphalt which can also blister and damage your Schnauzer's pads.
    • Always be aware of your Schnauzer's condition, mannerisms, and habits, especially during the hot summer months.

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    Check Your Local Forecast Before Heading Out With Your Miniature Schnauzer! Remember: Have Fun and Stay Cool!

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    Related Topics:
    Summer Safety Tips for Dogs
    First Aid for Dogs
    Keep Cool with No Air Conditioning

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