Heat stress in dogs - Freddie and Febee

Immediate Care

It is essential to remove the dog from the hot environment immediately. If it is unconscious, make sure no water enters the nose or mouth as you follow these guidelines. Also, do not give the dog aspirin to lower its temperature; this can lead to other problems.

  • Run a cool (not cold) shower over your pet.
  • Let the dog drink as able.

The following steps should be taken, regardless of whether the dog is conscious, appears to recover well, or was only mildly affected:

  • Check for signs of shock.
  • Get immediate veterinary attention. Heatstroke can cause unseen problems, such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure, and abnormal clotting of blood. On the way to the veterinarian, travel with the windows open and the air conditioner on.

Primary cause

Any hot environment can cause heatstroke, but the most common cause is careless actions such as leaving a dog in a car on a hot day or forgetting to provide shade to an animal kept outdoors.

Dog fur is great protection against the cold but can be a problem in hot weather. This is because, unlike humans, dogs eliminate heat by panting. (Dogs have some sweat glands in the footpads which help with heat dissipation, but only minimally.) When panting isn’t enough, their body temperature rises. This can be fatal if not corrected quickly.
Dogs with thick fur, short noses, or those suffering from medical conditions such as laryngeal paralysis and obesity are predisposed to heatstroke. In addition, dogs that enjoy constant exercise and playtime -- such as working dogs (Labradors, Springer Spaniels, etc.) -- should be closely monitored for signs of overheating, especially on hot days.

Prevention

Heat stroke can be prevented by taking caution not to expose a dog to hot and humid conditions. This is especially applicable for dogs with airway diseases and breeds with shortened faces (e.g., the Pug, Bulldog, Shi Tzu).

While travelling in cars, make sure that the dog is well ventilated by placing it in a wired cage or in an open basket, and never leave your dog in a car with the windows closed, even if the car is parked in the shade. When outdoors, always make sure your dog is in a well-ventilated area with access to plenty of water and shady spots.

Prevent discomfort
and heatstroke

Our cooling dog coats can assist your dog by helping to keep their body temperature down, see our testimonial where this coat had been used to assist with overheating due to illness.

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