Heat Exhaustion

Few dog lovers are aware of the dangers of heat. Unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat to cool off. They can dissipate heat through only a few places, primarily their tongue and airway. So they are in danger of overheating, particularly when evaporation off the tongue is slowed down by humid weather.  Know your dog. Dogs react to heat in different ways. Brachycephalic breed, older, obese and pregnant dogs are most prone to heat stroke in hot weather. Young, active dogs, especially large breeds and those with thick coats, are particularly prone to exertional-hyperthermia; plain old overheating from exercise.

SIGNS OF OVERHEATING

Heavy panting, tongue extended, slowing pace, shade-seeking, intense thirst, red gums from increased blood flow to the mouth, rapid heart rate, bounding pulse, followed by weak , pulse due to dehydration, rapid, laboured breathing, heavy chest, anxiety and confusion, staggering and falling, fainting, vomiting and diarrhea, seizures, coma.

 TREATMENT

Move to a cool, shaded area, encourage drinking, gently hose with cool water or, better, submerge in cool water, keeping water away from the dog’s airway if it’s anxious and panting, check temperature every 15 minutes, and keep cooling down to 39.2 degrees Celsius (be careful to not go any lower), transport to a veterinarian while keeping the dog cool with ice packs and water.

Always pay attention to your dog and its mood because even healthy dogs can have off days. Hydrate. Offer water at the first signs of increased panting, and avoid exercise if your dog isn’t drinking enough. Make sure that you carry water on you because thirsty dogs drinking from puddles or lakes can pick up diseases transmitted from different unclean animals.