Recognizing Heat Stroke in Dogs
If you see your dog panting heavily and has bright red gums (not pink), with uncoordinated gait - he/she might be experiencing heat stress! Although heat stress is a less dangerous sign of hyperthermia (increased body temperature), it may still lead to something called HEAT STROKE.
Some dog breeds like the English Bulldog is more prone to heat stroke, but if you live in a tropical country, all dogs are susceptible because we have longer warm months. Your dog has a high chance of experiencing heat stroke if he is leashed/caged throughout the day and is exposed to the sun or is kept in a poorly ventilated area.
Signs and Management
Signs of heat stroke include:
- increased thirst
- excessive panting and drooling
- high body temperature
You must be prepared to bring your dog to the vet within 30 minutes of noticing these signs!
Here are some things you may do at home prior to going to the vet: You need to help bring the dog to a cooler/shaded place with proper ventilation. You can put your dog in an air-conditioned room or if that is unavailable, then you can get a fan and make sure that the air is blowing directly onto your pet. Next, soak towels in cool water and put one on the dog's head and the other on the body. It is best to avoid using COLD WATER as this would cause the body temperature to drop too rapidly.
- Make sure your dog is kept in a cool, well-ventilated area.
- Minimize exercise during peak hours of the day (10am to 4pm).
- Keep your dog's fur short during the warm months.
- Provide accessible, fresh water.