The signs of heatstroke and how to treat it

The way dogs are built is more for conserving heat instead of getting rid of it, unlike their human counterparts and as a result of this will overheat a lot quicker than we do.

Because of this, heatstroke for a dog is much more serious and can come on very suddenly, rocketing in to a more serious matter for them in very little time, sometimes in a matter of minutes.

In most cases spotting the symptoms will mean your pet is already suffering from it.

So of course, being able to identify the symptoms and having the knowledge to treat them is imperative to your dog’s wellbeing and could even save their life.

Signs that heatstroke is or has set in and that should not be ignored:

  • Panting heavily
  • Very fast pulse rate
  • Excessive salivation
  • Increased redness to tongue or gums
  • A lack of energy and enthusiasm
  • A lack of coordination

In more extreme situations your pet may display more serious symptoms like:

  • Collapsing
  • Unable or resisting to get up
  • Diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Increased difficulty breathing
  • In the most extreme case, loss of consciousness

Act immediately if your dog displays any symptoms of heatstroke; cool its temperature down quickly but steadily and always contact your vet. This is crucial, even if your pet seems to be recovering well there may well be internal complications that can be caused by heatstroke and unfortunately could be fatal.

Cooling down your dog effectively can be achieved in several ways:

Restrict movement and remove from heat – If you can move your dog inside, ideally to an air conditioned room then great, if not make sure you find them a shaded area outside and in both instances restrict the movement and do not let them run around or play until the threat of heatstroke has subsided.

Let them drink some water – Start of with a small quantity of water and increase accordingly to your pet’s intake. Do not force them to drink if they cannot do so of their own accord.

Cool them with water – Best done when wet with a stream of water such as a hose, an alternative is to use wet towels or cloths. Make sure you get water between the legs and under the stomach and tail.

Cooling your dog too rapidly can actually cause injury as well as using water that is too cold; it can actually slow down the cooling process instead, remember the water only has to be not warm.

A few other important things to take in to consideration when cooling your pet with water:

  • Submerging your pet in water is not good for it and can cause it to cool down too fast.
  • If using a hose, make sure the pressure is not at too high a level to cause injury or discomfort
  • If using damp towels or cloths do not cover the animal only wipe them down, this can trap the dogs heat in and cause them to get hotter rather than cooler.

So there you have it, you’re now ready to tackle the warm summer weather and keep your pets safe and sound while having some fun with them.