Dogs And Heat Strokes


Because the weather is heating up, I thought it would be good to again touch on the subject of heat stroke in dogs.  Oh yeah, dogs can suffer heat strokes just like people.

To them, life is always a blast when they're with you. Running, jumping, playing hard. But dogs don't sweat like we do.  And they are just as susceptible as we are at overdoing in the heat and suffering the consequences.

How to Protect Your Dog From Heat Stroke

Dogs don't sweat.  They pant.  And they wear their fur coats all year long.

Normal body temperature for a dog falls between 101 to 102° Fahrenheit. 

Unknown Object
If his body temperature rises only 3 to 4 more degrees, he is susceptible to brain damage, organ failure, even death.

A dog's natural method for cooling himself is panting, which is a process for blowing out the heat.  If you see your dog panting, you already know his body is heating up, even if you feel perfectly comfortable.

Heat Stroke is actually quite common in dogs, much more so than in humans.  When their body temperature rises beyond their ability to dissipate the heat, they become dehydrated, their blood begins to thicken and clot, and that puts extreme strain on their heart.  

So How Can You Quickly Cool A Dog?

So what should you do if you suspect your friend may be near heat exhaustion or heat stroke? It is important that you get him cooled right away. If possible, cool him by doing one or all of these things. Once you have accomplished that, though, STOP.  There is a point where you can go too far.

  •           Get him into the air conditioning, or at the very least in front of a fan.
  •           Drizzle water onto his body in some way.  Hose him down or dunk him in a tub or bathtub. Cool water is preferable to cold water; you don't want to shock his system.
  •           Use a sponge or wet towels to get cool water over his tummy, between his legs, or over his neck and head.
  •           Provide him with some homemade frozen treats.
  •         Get hold of your vet right away and get his advice, especially if you think the dog may already have reached the point of heat stroke. Remember, heat stroke can cause irreversible brain damage or death.

 Know When To Stop Cooling Your Dog

After accomplishing the steps mentioned above and you believe his body has cooled at least a couple of degrees, STOP. Dropping his body temperature too quickly can present problems of its own.

Just try to keep him comfortable (and of course cool).  Your veterinarian will tell you what to do next.

Dogs are called man's best friend for good reason. They are our most loyal companions. Still they depend on us.  Because we love them, we want to protect them. But how can we prevent our dog from getting too hot in the first place?  I will cover that in the next blog post.

Happy Trails!