According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 384 people die from summer heat each year. Many of those people die from heat stroke, which occurs when the body overheats and is not able to sufficiently cool itself. But humans are not the only ones who can get heat stroke. Your dog is in danger, too.
In dogs, as in humans, heat stroke is a life-threatening affliction. It generally occurs during high humidity, high temperature days of summer. If symptoms of heat stroke are ignored, and immediate steps not taken, brain damage and death may result.
Risk Factors of Heat Stroke in Dogs
For a dog to get heat stroke, says Animal Hospitals-USA, the following conditions must be met:
*A confined space
*High ambient temperatures (such as those found in direct sunlight in the summer months)
A dog releases body heat by panting. When he is in a confined space, his heat-releasing panting will raise the temperature in a confined space. If there is no ventilation, the heat he releases in the confined space builds up, with nowhere to go, and your dog is unable to properly regulate his body temperature.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Dogs
According to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, the most common signs of heat stroke in dogs are:
*Rapid breathing and increased heart rate
*Discolored gums-dogs experiencing heat stroke will have dull gray or pink gums instead of the red-pink color that normally exists.
*Disorientation-dogs may not be aware of their environment
*Refusal to obey commands
*Wild or panicked expression
When you see these signs, says Animal Hospitals-USA, “collapse, coma and death follow shortly thereafter.”
Treating Heat Stroke in Dogs
If you notice any of these signs of heat stroke in your dog, seek immediate veterinary medical attention. In addition, the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center recommends that you put your dog in a shady area and wipe cold water on the pads of his paws and on his lower stomach, where the hair is thin to nonexistent.
But this may not cool your dog fast enough to prevent death from heat stroke.
Animal Hospitals-USA suggests that you immediately reduce your dog’s temperature by either totally immersing him in cool water or spraying cool water on him with a hose. On your way to the Veterinary Hospital, gently massage his skin and bend his legs to stimulate blood flow.