The normal temperature for your dog is 100-102.5 degrees. Since a dog’s internal cooling system is very inefficient they can get overheated very easily. As dogs do not sweat, they must rely on panting and cool air to cool their internal organs. Lying on cool surfaces also helps reduce external temperatures. If their temperature reaches 104 degrees, it is considered moderate heatstroke. This can be handled in about an hour with the proper care. If the heatstroke is severe and temperature reaches 106 degrees emergency care is needed. At this severe heatstroke level the consequences can be deadly.
Signs and Symptoms
• Panting or Dog Difficulty Breathing; Very rapid breathing compared to their normal breathing
• The tongue will turn bright red
• The gums will either be pale or red
• Their saliva becomes very sticky and thick
• Dog Vomiting can occur; There can be blood in the emesis
Your quick actions can save them
Get your dog into a cooler area as quickly as possible. If your dog can drink on his own, offer water or the pediatric type rehydrating drinks. If you dog is not fully conscious, do not offer liquids as choking can occur.
Call your veterinarian and prepare to take your dog into the vet’s office or clinic. Before you leave for the vet, his temperature can be lowered by bathing him in cool water. Toy breeds or small dogs should have lukewarm bathing.
Do not use ice water or very cold water. This can cause other problems. Initially the surface blood vessels will constrict and the core or inside temperature will rise.
Check the temperature with a rectal thermometer every five minutes. When the temperature reaches 103 degrees cover your dog and transport him to the vet. Your veterinarian will check for dehydration or other potential complications.
Your Veterinarian will do the Following
Your veterinarian will continue to lower the body temperature to its proper level. Monitoring of the temperature will continue. Your dog may be given fluids and oxygen if necessary. Close observation for signs of stroke, heart irregularities, Dog Difficulty Breathing, Dog Renal Failure and all possible organ failure. Blood clotting problems are a frequent complication of heatstroke. Therefore clotting time will be checked.
At Home Care
Often your dog can recover from moderate heatstroke with no health problems. If there is severe heatstroke there is the possibility of some organ damage. In the case of organ damage a special diet may be ordered by your veterinarian. When a dog has heatstroke one time, their chances of repeating are greater and you must protect them from getting it repeatedly. Special caution needs to be used on hot humid days.
If your dog does not have a place to cool off, such as a children’s wading pool or other shelter, it is up to the owner to prevent heatstroke.
• If your dog has other health problems, keep him inside during hot weather. This is true for obese dogs, older dogs or dogs with heart issues or breathing problems.
• Water should be available all of the time. It too should be sheltered. Hot water is not palatable.
• Never leave your dog in the car if you are going shopping. Heat rises quickly and you could return to a dead dog when you are through.
• If you keep your dog outside, provide some shade or a shelter.
• Do not muzzle.
• Concrete and asphalt hold heat. Avoid them if possible.
• No jogging in hot, humid weather.
• If you have air conditioning in your home, keep your dog inside. If you don’t, freeze water and place it in a sock or a towel for the dog to lie on. Provide a fan to circulate the air.