Monday, July 15, 2013

Do You Know the Signs of Heat Stroke?

Temperatures are supposed to climb into the mid-90s this week, and if recent weather is any indication, it will probably be humid as well. If you’re like us, you’ll try to stay inside as much as possible, especially during the hottest part of the day.

Dogs will still need to go outside, however, and if they’re service dogs, they’ll still need to accompany their partners. When spending time in the heat, it’s important to know the signs of heat stroke. Do you know them?

Signs of Heat Stroke

You probably know that dogs only sweat through their paw pads. But if they don’t sweat, how do they keep themselves cool? Dogs pant to regulate their body temperature. If they can’t cool themselves off, they start to exhibit signs of heat stroke. 

  • Heavy panting and difficulty breathing
  • Red tongue and mucous membranes
  • Thick, tenacious drool
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Unsteady gait
  • Dry nose and ears that are hot to the touch
A dog’s normal body temperature is about 103 degrees Fahrenheit. If it raises to 104 or higher, your dog has heat stroke. 

If your dog has the symptoms of heat stroke and doesn't cool down soon, they could collapse, fall into a coma, and even die.

What To Do

If your dog is exhibiting signs of heat stroke, you should immediately take action to cool them down. If they’re outside, move them to the shade or even better, get your dog inside into the air conditioning. Give your dog small amounts of cool water. Be careful not to use cold water or to let your dog slurp down an entire bowlful of water.

You can spray your dog with the garden hose, or immerse them in cool (NOT cold) water. Placing cool, wet towels on their armpits, belly, and groin area can also help.

Do not give your dog ice as a way of cooling them down. The rapid change in temperature can cause serious medical complications. Remember, you want to gradually cool your dog down. Make sure to monitor your dog’s temperature, and as soon as it reaches 103 or slightly below, stop cooling them down. If you continue to try to cool them down, you may end up giving your dog hypothermia.

If your dog has heat stroke, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet. If you have an SSD dog, be sure to call Becky on the Puppy Cell.

If you need to be outside, be sure to take lots of water breaks in the shade and try to avoid walking on hot asphalt or cement

Stay cool!

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