During the hot summer months, it is important to protect your pets from heat stroke. Dogs are not able to tolerate high temperatures as well as humans— they depend on panting, not sweating, to lower their body temperature. Panting is not very efficient when the temperatures are very high.
Common causes of heat stroke in dogs are:
Being left in a car with the windows up in hot weather; however, leaving the windows down does not necessarily make it better.
Being confined or chained without shade and/or water in hot weather, especially on concrete.
Walking, running or jogging with your dog in hot weather.
Signs of distress: Excessive panting, temperature above 104°, collapse, very red mucus membranes, weakness, bloody diarrhea or vomit
What to do:
- Remove pet from direct heat.
- If you’re comfortable with the process, take a rectal temperature.
- Spray your pet with cool water from the hose or tub). Do not use icy water! Make sure water makes contact with the skin of the chest, abdomen, inside the legs - not just his/her hair.
- Place water soaked towels on their head, neck, chest and abdomen and continue spraying with water.
- The goal of the cooling process is to decrease the pet’s temperature to 103-104°. The process should take about 10-15 minutes
- Once desired temperature is reached, transport your pet to a veterinarian immediately. If temperature will not decrease, cover your pet with wet towels and go to your veterinarian right away. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate attention.
Nydia Melissa Perez, DVM