Heat Stroke in Dogs
As we start to enjoy the hotter weather this summer, spare a thought for our furry friends! Dogs do not have sweat glands, they can only lose heat by panting and can struggle in warmer weather leading to heat stroke.
Heat stroke is a true veterinary emergency – if left untreated it can soon lead to the death of a pet. Fit and healthy dogs can suffer from heat stroke but some dogs are more at risk of developing symptoms. These include:
- very young or old dogs
- short nosed dogs (Brachycephalics such as boxers, bulldogs and pugs)
- overweight animals
- thick coated breeds
- dogs exercising in the heat
- dogs with pre-existing health problems e.g. heart and breathing problems.
Signs to look out for:
- panting heavily
- showing signs of distress
- rapid breathing
- lethargy or acting sleepy
These signs can also be associated with other health problems, so if in doubt please call the surgery on 01608 730501 to speak to a vet for advice.
What can you do to help your dog?
- Remove them from the heat source straight away, put them somewhere cool or shady preferably in a draught or use a fan.
- Ring the vet for advice, active cooling of your pet must be done carefully as you could do more harm than good.
- Wet the coat with cool water (do not use ice cold water as this will contract the blood vessels in the skin and slow down heat loss). You can do this by wrapping towels soaked in water around the dog continuing to pour water onto the towels.
- Let the dog drink if it wants to but only small amounts at a time
- Clear saliva from the mouth and sponge the face with cool water.
- Keep cooling until your pets breathing starts to settle.
- Bring your pet to the vets for a check-up ASAP even if they seem better.
Prevention is better than cure so try and ensure your pet does not become too warm in the first place. NEVER leave a dog in a hot car even just for a short time as temperatures can soar and this can be fatal.
Avoid exercising your pet in the heat of the day (11am-3pm). This will not only prevent heatstroke but it will also prevent burnt or damaged pads due to hot pavements/tarmac.
What to do if you see a distressed dog in a hot parked car? The best thing to do is call the police. The RSPCA has good guidelines on what to do if you are worried about an animal left unattended.
If you are worried your dog is suffering from heat stroke, or you would like some further information please contact one of our branches at Hook Norton , Charlbury or Deddington.
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