Australians love the summer season. Sunny days mean fun at the beach, barbeque dinners and plenty of outdoor play with your furry buddy. However, it also brings in soaring temperatures that can cause heatstroke in dogs – a devastating consequence when we ignore the warning signs early on.
How Does Heatstroke In Dogs Happen?
The average body temperature for canines is slightly higher than that of humans’; it sits around 38.5 degrees Celsius. Heatstroke, also known as heat stress or hyperthermia happens when there’s an increase in their body temperature up to 40.5-43 degrees Celsius.
Though the condition becomes more prevalent during hot, summer months, heatstroke can happen at any time. Dogs only have a few sweat glands around their nose and feet, so they are predisposed to overheating. They rely on panting or external cooling (e.g.ventilation devices, fan, air conditioning, cold water) to help regulate their temperature.
Signs of Heat Stroke In Dogs
Heatstroke can be mild and escalate to a severe condition. It can cause internal organs to stop functioning or get damaged and progresses fast. So when the weather is scorching, always pay close attention to your dog’s behaviour and physical manifestations. Symptoms may include:
- Increased body temperature
- Fast heart rate
- Rapid, incessant panting
- Restlessness, Distress
- Bluish-purple gums
- Bright, red tongue
- Dizziness, Disorientation
- Struggling to get up
- Abnormal bleeding found in faeces and vomit.
- Red lesions on the skin from broken blood vessels
- Heavy, large or muscular dogs (over 10 kilograms)
- Giant breeds (over 50 kilograms)
- Obese dogs
- Short-faced/snouts (brachycephalic) – dogs with smaller nasal passages
- Young or old age
- Thick long coat
- Pre-existing respiratory disease
Dog Breeds That Are Most Susceptible To Heat Stroke
- Chow Chow
- English and French Bulldogs
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- Saint Bernards
- Shih Tzus
- English Springer Spaniel
- Golden Retriever
How To Prevent Heat Stroke In Dogs
If left or exercising in a hot environment, any dog can suffer from heatstroke. Here are ways to avoid it from happening.
- Skip walks during high-temperature weather. Do it in the late afternoon when it’s cooler.
- Keep them indoors and have a fan or air conditioning on especially on extremely hot days.
- Ensure they have access to drinking water.
- Take them for regular grooming, especially for dogs with long, thick coats.
- Use a wet towel or hose to cool them down.
- Let them play in the paddling pool. Be careful when doing this with breeds with short snouts.
- DO NOT place them in an ice-cold bath as this can cause hypothermia.
Heatstroke In Dogs: A Dangerous Condition But Can Easily Be Avoided
Although dogs suffering from heatstroke can be quite common during summer months, as a pet parent, you can prevent and have it treated right away. If you suspect your adorable furball to be suffering from heatstroke, speak with the veterinarian immediately.