What Should I Do If My Dog Has Heatstroke?

There is no doubt that the summer is hot. Do you know what to do if your dog has heatstroke? There are certain signs to look for and definitely things that you need do if you think if your dog is overheating.


Signs of Heatstroke

Overheating can quickly turn into heat exhaustion followed by an even more serious condition, heatstroke. A major key to keeping your dog safe from heat exhaustion is knowing how to spot the signs early and act quickly.

  • Constant and heavy panting
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty walking, weakness or wobbliness
  • Frequent need to sit and rest
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Collapse
  • Bright red, grey, bluish or purple gums
  • Seizures

If you notice any of these symptoms and think your dog is experiencing heat exhaustion, it’s important to act fast. There are some things you can do to help cool them down while you contact your veterinarian or animal hospital. 


What to do if you think your dog has heatstroke:

  • First, get your dog out of the heat immediately, but be careful not to cool your dog too quickly. Lay them on a cool surface, like a tile floor in an air-conditioned room.
  • Use cold (but not iced) compresses on their neck, armpits, and groin areas.
  • Gently wet their paws and ears
  • Take their rectal temperature to give to the vet. Then recheck every 10-15 minutes as you being to cool them off. After their body temperature reaches 103 or below you can stop cooling, but still contact the vet.
  • Get your pet to ANY vet ASAP. Call your vet on the way, but at this moment the closest vet is the best vet.


What you shouldn’t do:

Do not use cold water or ice, over cooling can cause blood vessels to constrict which traps the excess heat in the body’s core and can end up doing more harm than good.

Do not force your dog to drink, give them a fresh bowl of water, but do not force it if they are not interested.

Do not leave them alone. Similar to any other trauma, letting them sleep it off or giving them time to relax alone can be detrimental. They can easily end up worse off in this situation.


How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion:

Keep these tips in mind whenever you are going to be out on a warm day.

  • Keep fresh water on hand and have access to shade
  • Freeze water bottles for long trips so you always have cold water
  • Get out early in the day or in the evening, avoid the hottest parts of the day.
  • Never leave your dog in a car (even if it doesn’t seem that hot and the windows are cracked)

Of course, the best way to make sure that your dog is safe in the heat is prevention and early detection. With just a little planning and care you can always make sure that your dog is safe. After all, we want to enjoy our sunny days and not spend them worrying or rushing to the vet.



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