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Aug 05 2015

Heat Stroke in Dogs, Part 2: Recognizing and Treating Heat Stroke

Last week we talked about preventing heat stroke in dogs. Even if you are doing everything right, it is important for you to recognize the warning signs.

Dogs who are overheating to a dangerous degree may show signs like:

Excessive panting
Pale gums
Racing heart
Drooling with thick, rope-like saliva

What to do

Immediately move your dog to a cooler area, preferably a cool room in an air conditioned building. If that is not an option, move him in front of a fan or to a shady area.

Wet him down with cool, but not ice cold, water, either by using a hose or placing him in a tub. Saturate his footpads with rubbing alcohol.

Call your veterinarian. If possible, check his temperature with a rectal thermometer and report the temperature to your veterinarian. You may have to wait until he cools to 102-103 degrees before moving him. When it’s time, put wet towels on him and take him to your veterinarian.

Even if your dog looks okay, your dog should see the veterinarian to make sure there is no organ damage.

What your veterinarian will do

Your veterinarian will begin lifesaving treatment to avoid organ damage. This might include intravenous fluids for rehydration, medications to stabilize respiration, and treatment for shock. Your veterinarian may recommend hospitalization for further treatment and laboratory tests.

Hopefully you will have a safe and happy summer without ever having to go through this, but now you know what to look for and what to do about it.


Dr. Jessica Jones | Pet Safety

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