By Laura Yurchak
One thing that gets my adrenalin going is seeing a dog in a car during the warm weather months or someone jogging with their dog in 90° weather. People don’t realize how quickly heat stroke can occur.
Heat Stroke (Hyperthermia) can kill your dog within 10 minutes under the right conditions. Heat stroke in dogs occurs when the dog’s body is absorbing more heat than it can release.
Dogs release heat primarily by panting and through their foot pads and noses. A dog’s normal temperature is between 100 – 102 degrees. Once a dog’s temperature elevates over 106 degrees, the dog’s body is unable to regulate normal functions. When this happens, damage to the dog’s muscles, organs, and metabolic processes can occur.
Heat stroke in dogs is a potentially life threatening condition that requires immediate medical treatment. Once you see signs of heat stroke, you have very little time before serious damage or even death can occur.
Signs of Heat Stroke
- Increased rectal temperature
- Over 104° requires action
- Over 106° is a dire emergency
- Vigorous/ uncontrollable panting
- Labored breathing
- Dark red gums
- Tacky or dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums)
- Salivating, thick saliva or foaming at the mouth
- Bloody diarrhea
- Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up
- Trembling, dizziness, disorientation
- Loss of consciousness, coma
Preventing Heat Stroke
- Leave your dog at home on warm days.
- Avoid vigorous exercise.
- Keep is shaded and well ventilated area when outside.
- Keep fresh cool water available at all times.
- Dogs more sensitive to heat stroke are:
- Obese dogs
- Older dogs
- Very young dogs
- Dogs with heart conditions
- Brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs
- Those that moved from cooler, less humid climate
What to do if You Suspect Heat Stroke
- Move your dog out of the heat, away from the sun
- Check the rectal temperature
- Over over 104° requires action
- Over 106° is a dire emergency)
- Submerse in luke warm (NOT COLD) water
- Wet belly, head, neck and legs
- Can apply wet rags to head, neck and body
- Run Cool water over tongue & mouth
- Apply rubbing alcohol to paw pads
- STOP COOLING when body temp reaches 103°
- Contact your veterinarian immediately
|Outside Temp||Time in Car||Inside Car Temp|
|90 degrees||10 mins||113 degrees|
|90 degrees||20 mins||120 degrees|
|90 degrees||30 mins||133 degrees|