We are in the middle of summer. Summer is also an excellent time to spend some amazing time outdoors with your beloved pet. However, the chances of your dog having a heat stroke also increase with rising temperatures.
How do you know if your dog is having a heat stroke?
What is a heat stroke?
Heat stroke or hyperthermia is basically elevated body temperature. A dog's normal body temperature is around 101 to 102.5 F. However, if a dog's body temperature goes above 103 F, it is considered hyperthermia. If your dog's body temperature reaches 107 F to 109 F, it is a severe heat stroke and may cause multiple organ failures and even death.
Dogs are unable to regulate their body temperature like humans. Humans have many sweat glands all over the body, which help in regulating body temperature. Dogs, on the other hand, only have a few sweat glands around their noses and on their paw pads, which do not release a lot of heat. They release heat from their bodies mostly by panting, but sometimes even that is not enough. When dogs are not able to cool themselves properly, they may suffer from heat stroke.
What causes heat stroke?
Any hot environment could put your dog at risk. Leaving your dog out in the yard on a hot day without any shade or water could cause its body to overheat. Similarly, leaving your dog in the car without proper ventilation could also cause a heat stroke.
Some dog breeds have a higher risk than others, such as large breeds with thicker coats. Bracephalic dogs such as pugs and bulldogs are also more susceptible. Older dogs and young pups are also more at risk than others. Obese dogs are also more likely to suffer from heat stroke. Dogs who have a pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular disease are also at greater risk.
How can you tell if your dog is having a heat stroke?
Excessive panting is perhaps the most telling symptom of a heat stroke. It is the desperate attempt of your dog to cool its body down.
Of course, there are other symptoms too, such as :
High body temperature
If your dog's body temperature is higher than 103 F, it is likely to suffer a heat stroke.
If your dog is drooling much more than normal, it could be a sign of a heat stroke. You will probably notice the saliva to be thicker because heat strokes also cause dehydration.
If your dog is inactive and lethargic, it could be a symptom that it is reeling under the effects of the heat.
An increase in heartbeat or irregular heartbeat is another compelling sign that your dog has suffered a heat stroke.
Loss of balance
In case your dog is unable to walk properly and loses its balance, chances are it may have had a heat stroke.
Diarrhea or vomiting
Heat stroke causes dehydration, which could be the reason for diarrhea and vomiting in your dog.
Loss of consciousness
Dullness, inactivity, and loss of consciousness are other symptoms of heat stroke that you should not ignore.
If your beloved pet is displaying any of the heat stroke symptoms above, ensure to first move it to a cool spot away from the heat. Give your pet plenty of water to drink, and take it to a vet immediately. Even if you feel that your dog is recovering, heat stroke can be life-threatening, and a vet would know the right course of treatment.