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Heatstroke in Dogs: How to Keep Your Pup Cool

As the summer months inch closer, you and your pup are bound to be spending more time outdoors. Be sure to protect your pup while outside by following our Bonita Springs vets' tips on how to monitor for, treat, and prevent heatstroke in dogs. 

What is heatstroke in dogs? 

Unlike humans, dogs can't sweat to cool down and instead rely mostly on panting. This makes them more prone to heatstroke so it is important to take precautions during the warmer months. 

Heatstroke (also known as heat exhaustion is a serious condition that can potentially turn fatal for dogs. When a dog's body temperature rises above its normal range (101.5°F), hyperthermia can occur. Once your dog's body hits 104°F they are at serious risk of developing heatstroke and heatstroke-related complications. 

Sings of Heatstroke in Dogs

Watch your furry friend closely during spring and summer. Heatstroke symptoms in dogs include: 

  • Excessive panting 
  • Mental flatness or "dullness" 
  • Signs of discomfort 
  • Unwilling or unable to move (or uncoordinated movement 
  • Drooling 
  • Red gums 
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapsing or losing consciousness

What should I do if my dog is suffering from heatstroke?

Fortunately, heatstroke in dogs can be reversed if detected early. If you notice your pup displaying any symptoms listed above, immediately take them to a cooler place with good air circulation. Provide them with cool (not cold) water - but don't force them to drink. You can also place cool, wet towels on your dog's stomach and back to help cool them off. 

If symptoms do not improve quickly and you are not able to take your dog’s temperature, contact our emergency veterinarians or your nearest veterinary emergency hospital for further advice. It is always best to be on the safe side and seek professional care when it comes to heatstroke. 

If available, take your dog's temperature with a rectal thermometer. Anything above 104°F constitutes a veterinary emergency and your dog will need to get to the vet as soon as possible. 

Heatstroke in dogs can lead to secondary organ damage, and even organ failure if left untreated. 

How can I prevent heatstroke?

Be very cautious about how much time your furry friend spends outside or in the sun during the summer. Always be sure to provide your pup with water and access to shade while outdoors. A small pool with cool water can also be a fun way for your pup to maintain a good temperature. 

Most importantly, never leave your dog in a car with closed windows - even if you park in the shade. Internal car temperatures can skyrocket in minutes and cause heatstroke.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Heatstroke can be dangerous for dogs. At Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists we provide 24/7 emergency care. If you suspect your pup may be suffering from heatstroke be sure to contact us immediately. 

Our 24/7 Emergency Care in Bonita Springs 

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