Protecting Your Dog from Heat Stroke

Summer brings a lot of fun to the masses, but it also has its drawbacks. One such summer-related problem is heat stroke, which affects numerous people every year. Heat stroke is also an issue for our canine companions. Fortunately, owners can prevent and shield their dogs from this illness through common-sense precautionary measures.

Warning Signs

Dogs tend to wear their emotions on their sleeve, a trait that comes in handy when they are under duress. A dog experiencing overheating will often exhibit fairly obvious symptoms, including rapid and excessive panting, drooling and glassy eyes. A few other signs of canine heat stroke are as follows:

  • Gasping for air
  • Facial expressions that indicate stress/anxiety
  • Bodily weakness
  • An abnormally fast heartbeat
  • Fever

Car Trouble

You probably have heard about dogs suffering health problems while locked in a car. Heat stroke tends to strike dogs stuck in automobiles and for a very straightforward reason – temperatures inside cars can rise rapidly, even on days that are not especially hot. For example, on an 80°F day, the temperature inside a parked car can rise into the triple-digits over the span of a few minutes.

Cooling Down

Given the preceding paragraph, the most obvious way to keep dogs cool is to not leave them in cars on hot days. This rule holds true even when it comes to parking in the shade, which will do little to keep your dog safe.

If your pet is showing signs of overheating, a good strategy is to get them into a bathtub as quickly as possible. Once in tub, give your dog a thorough shower with cool (not cold) water, with extra attention given to the neck and the back of the head. In lieu of a bath tub, a garden hose can suffice in a pinch.

Overheated dogs should also be provided with as much drinking water as they can handle. This water should be at either a cool or cold temperature, and should also be free of dirt or other contaminants. As with humans, cold packs can be used to cool your dog off. Keep attending to your dog until his temperature drops below 103°F; these temperature checks should occur at five minute intervals.

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