We have some unseasonably hot weather heading our way, so we thought we would share this post on heat stroke from the summertime.
It’s Getting Hot Out There…
As we transition into the full-on Florida summertime, please make sure to take extra caution when taking your furry friends outdoors. It’s the season for hot dogs… and we’re not talking about Ballpark Franks!
Heat stroke (hyperthermia) occurs when an animal severely overheats – most commonly when the weather turns warm. Common causes of heat stroke include: leaving an animal in a parked car, excessive exercise in hot/humid weather, lack of appropriate shelter outdoors, thicker-coated pets in warm weather, as well as an underlying disease such as upper airway, heart or lung disease.
Since a lot of us will be enjoying time at the beach, by the pool, barbecuing, or possibly camping, it is important to be knowledgeable of heat stroke just in case your furry friend does get overheated. Thankfully heat stroke is easily preventable, but we wanted to share this advice just in case!
Who Can Get Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke can happen to any animal, but it is important to know if your animal is predisposed to heat stroke, which is true of dogs with short snouts such as bulldogs, pugs and many other breeds. Additionally, you should be especially watchful if your pet is…
- Very old
- Very young
- Not used to physical activity
- Suffering from poor health
- Wearing a muzzle.
Recognizing the Signs of a Heat Stroke
Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Heavy panting
- Glazed eyes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Profuse salivation
- Excessive thirst
- Deep red/purple tongue
- Lack of coordination
Other symptoms of more advanced heat stroke include collapse, body temperature 104° F or above, bloody diarrhea or vomit, depression stupor, seizures or coma.
The good news is if the heat stroke hasn’t advanced too far (with body temperature of more then 104° F), you can help your animal recover.
If you suspect heat stroke:
- Get your dog out of direct heat
- Check for shock
- Take your dog’s temperature
- Spray your dog with cool water then retake temperature
- Place water-soaked towels on the dog’s head, neck, feet, chest and abdomen, turn on a fan and point it in your dog’s direction, rub Isopropyl alcohol (70%) on the dog’s foot pads to help cool him but don’t use large quantities as it can be toxic if ingested
- Take your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital
During a heat crisis, the goal is always to decrease the dog’s body temperature to 103° F in the first 10-15 minutes. Once 103° F is reached, you must stop the cooling process because the body temperature will continue to decrease and can plummet dangerously low if you continue to cool the dog for too long.
Even if you successfully cool your pet down to 103° F in the first 10-15 minutes, you must take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible because consequences of heat stroke will not show up for hours or even days.
Avoid Heat Stroke All Together
Like we mentioned before, heat stroke can easily be prevented all together. Here are some simple ways to protect your pet from heat stroke:
- Never leave your animal in your car, even in the shade
- Avoid traveling on hot days in poorly-ventilated vehicles
- Provide your pet with ample amounts of water throughout the day
- Avoid exercise or outdoor play midday (when the sun is highest) or on especially hot days
- Monitor your pet’s activity and avoid excessive play
We hope this helps, and stay cool!