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Heatstroke in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes & Prevention

The summers can get hot in Newtown and that means our 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital begins to see an increase in dogs with heatstroke symptoms, which could be deadly. In this blog, our vets discuss the symptoms of heatstroke and what you should do if you notice these symptoms in your dog.

The human body is able to sweat to cool itself down, while dogs cool off by panting. If your pooch gets too hot panting won't be enough for them to lower their core body temperature, so their body temperature will keep rising which could lead to them developing heatstroke. 

Heatstroke is a very dangerous condition and if it isn't treated immediately it can become fatal. This makes it very important for dog parents to know the sign of heatstroke in dogs.

The Causes of Heatstroke in Dogs

Dogs can develop heatstroke in any environment if it's hot. The most common reason why dogs develop heatstroke is that a pet parent makes a careless mistake, such as leaving their dog in a car on a warm day or forgetting to provide sufficient water and shade for their dog when they are outdoors in the hot summer weather.

Even though all dogs can get heatstroke, some pups are more prone to it than others. If your dog has thick fur, a short nose, or suffers from an underlying medical condition, they might be at a higher risk of heatstroke.

You need to remember that it isn't only neglected dogs that appear in our emergency vet hospital with heatstroke. Even well cared for pets who enjoy nutritious food, lots of exercises and fun outdoor playtime need to be closely monitored for symptoms of heatstroke, when the weather is hot and humid.

The Symptoms of Dog Heatstroke

The most obvious symptom of heatstroke in dogs is excessive panting although, other symptoms you should watch for include drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, mental dullness, loss of consciousness, uncoordinated movement, and collapse.

You should always treat your dog's heatstroke symptoms as an emergency!  These symptoms can be a sign of a serious medical problem and can cause unseen issues, such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, and abnormal clotting of blood. Immediate veterinary care is very important if you think that your dog has heatstroke.

What to do If You Think Your Dog Has Heatstroke

If your pooch is displaying any signs of heatstroke it's essential to get them emergency medical attention immedietly. If you believe your dog has heatstroke, call your veterinarian or the nearest emergency animal hospital and tell them you are on your way. While on your way to the vet's office, keep the windows open and the air conditioner on full.

Until you can see the veterinarian, you need to: remove your dog from the hot environment immediately, let them drink as much cool water as they want but do not force them to drink, and cool your dog off by placing a towel soaked in cold water on their back.

How Heatstroke in Dogs is Treated

Usually, the treatment for heatstroke in dogs includes intravenous fluid therapy to replace fluids and minerals. The vet will also monitor and examine your dog for secondary complications such as kidney failure, abnormal clotting, electrolytes abnormalities, development of neurologic symptoms, and changes in blood pressure.

How to Protect Your Dog From Heatstroke

If you are a dog parent, you need to be aware of the temperature outside and take the appropriate measures to prevent your dog from developing heatstroke, especially during the hot and humid months of summer. When your dog is spending time outdoors keep their space well-ventilated and give them access to lots of water and shade. If you are taking your dog on a car ride, make sure that their crate has good ventilation, and never ever leave your dog in a car with the windows closed.

If you notice your dog displaying any of the symptoms of heatstroke you should treat it as an emergency and contact us immediately. At Newtown Veterinary Specialists in Newtown, CT we are open 24-hours a day 365 days of the year to provide emergency care to pets in need.

New Patients Welcome

Newtown Veterinary Specialists is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Newtown companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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