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Preventing Heat Stroke in Dogs

When a dog is exposed to extreme heat, heat stroke or exhaustion can result. Here’s how you can tell if your dog is feeling the effects:

  1. Vigorous panting

  2. Dark red gums

  3. Tacky or dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums)

  4. Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up

  5. Collapse and/or loss of consciousness

  6. Thick saliva

  7. Dizziness or disorientation

Dogs don’t sweat through their skin like humans.  They release heat primarily by panting and sweating through their foot pads and noses. If a dog cannot effectively expel heat, its internal body temperature begins to rise. Once the dog’s temperature reaches 106°, damage to its cellular system and organs may become irreversible.

Preventing Heat Stroke

Better than treating heat stroke, here are four ways to help prevent it.

  1. Never leave your dog alone in the car on a warm day, even if the windows are open. Even if the weather outside is only mildly hot, the inside of the car acts like an oven. Temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels in a matter of minutes.

  2. Avoid vigorous exercise on warm days. When outside, lead your dog to rest or play in the relative cool of the shade.

  3. Keep fresh cool water handy.

  4. Certain types of dogs require even greater caution as they are more susceptible to heat stroke. Pugs, Bulldogs, and other short-nosed breeds fit that description.

How to Respond to Heat Stroke

Here’s what to do if you even suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke.

  1. Move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun.

  2. Place cool, wet rags or washcloths on the body – especially on its foot pads and around the head.

  3. DO NOT use ice or very cold water! Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body’s core from cooling which, in turn, can cause a further increase in internal temperature. Over-cooling also can cause hypothermia, thus introducing a new set of problems.

  4. When your dog’s temperature climbs back down to 103°, stop your cooling efforts.

  5. Offer your dog cool water, but don’t force it.

  6. Call or visit your vet even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye.

Unlike outdoor temperatures, you CAN control what goes on indoors.  So, if your central AC system isn’t performing up to par, contact GBT Heating & Cooling for prompt and dependable service. That’s what we’re known for.

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