Heat stroke occurs when your pet’s internal temperature becomes dangerously high, generally about 106 degrees F. It can stem from being locked in a hot car, or to over-exercising in a hot and/or humid environment. Either way, it leads to a cascade of very serious conditions that can result in brain damage, organ failure, and death.
Dog Heat Stroke Prevention
On hot, humid days, keep your pets indoors, except to answer their calls of nature. If keeping them outside isn’t an option, provide plenty of shade and fresh water, and that the water can’t be spilled. You might even set up multiple bowls or sources of drinking water. You can even add ice cubes to the water bowl to keep it cooler longer. If you have to leave for a while and your pet must remain outdoors, plan ahead so they don’t lose access to shade.
If possible, limit your pet’s outdoor activities to early morning and late evening.
Next, and we know it goes without saying, but never leave a pet unattended in a parked car, even for “just a minute.” Sometimes, you become unexpectedly delayed and, in a stressful situation, people have been known to forget about their pets and then regret their mistake, regardless of the consequence.
Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs
Here’s what to look for as signs your pet may be suffering from heat stroke:
- Body temperature of 104-110 degrees Fahrenheit
- Heavy panting
- Rapid pulse or heartbeat
- Bright or dark red gums & tongue
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive drooling
- Lack of coordination
- Glazed eyes
- Bloody diarrhea
Once you take note of one or more these symptoms, first try to lower the body temperature by moving your pet to a cool area. Cooling procedures should begin before driving to the vet. You can soak your pet with cold water, but not ice cold as that can make things worse. If you have one, use a fan to accelerate your dog’s recovery.
After that, get your pet to the vet just as quickly as possible, but be sure to call ahead so they can adequately prepare.
Adults can get heat stroke, too, but the last place that should ever happen is inside your own home. So, if your air conditioning system just isn’t holding up or you’re ready for your first central AC system, contact GBT Heating & Cooling today to request a free in-home comfort analysis and new system proposal.