With Heat Stroke being one of the top things that vets see during the summer, its a concern that all pet owners should be looking out for during these dogone hot days…so I’m here to offer a few humble words of advice.

Heat Stroke – this unfortunately is a condition with dogs where there is a fine line between heat exsaushtion, stroke and death that can be crossed very quickly. They’re most vulnerable to heat related injuries because they don’t sweat like we do through our skin. They lose heat through panting as well as radiating heat through their own skin, thus why we have such good little foot warmers in the winter!

Heat Stroke is when the body is overwhelmed by external temperatures causing the internal organs to be unable to regulate their temperature with normal methods of cooling down. Most if not all dogs are vulnerable to heat stroke – however those most at risk are; large breed (giant) dogs, Brachycephalic (pugs, japanese chins, etc), dogs with any respiratory diseases (colds, pulmonary lung disorders, asthma, etc), older dogs, overweight dogs, and dark colored dogs.

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from heat stroke, or you see the following signs, immediately call your vet;

  • Excessive Drooling (more the normal)
  • Rapid Heavy Panting
  • Gasping for air
  • Glassy eyes
  • Weakness
  • Deep Red Gums (they should normally look a healthy bubblegum pink)
  • Inability to stand or walking drunkenly

In more severe cases;

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

In any case that you suspect heat stroke you should contact your vet immediately – however there are ways to help and cool them down as fast as possible to avoid any possible damage to their internal organs as well. Cooling them down as fast as possible is the key.

Caution: Do Not Use Ice Water To Cool Your Dog Down If You Suspect Heat Stroke

This can be just as dangerous. Cooling your dog down too fast can be just as detrimental as the heat stroke itself. Instead try the following options;

  • Put your dog in a bathtub, sink or kiddie pool of cool water.
  • Place cool wet towels around your dogs body, make sure you refresh the towels every few minutes or they will become hot and muggy with the dogs own body heat.
  • Spray your dog with the hose.
  • Dump buckets of water on your dog.
  • If you only have a bottle of water, wet down his paw pads until you can get somewhere with a larger source of cool water.
  • If you have rubbing alcohol, apply to the paw pads only, this will also help cool them off.
  • Pedialyte if you have any, offer it to them – this will help restore electrolytes to their system.

With the days of summer being so hot recently (especially here on the East Coast) and no relief in sight until fall, keep an eye on your pooch for signs of it. Adjust their (and your!) routines for it accordingly, keep good sense in mind when out in the weather, and enjoy the time spent in the sun with your pooch!