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Pet Heat Exhaustion: What to Do if Your Dog is Having a Heat Stroke

Pet Heat Stroke: What To Do If Your Dog 

By Jose Sanchez

Envision a hiker with his friends in the beautiful hills of LA. All is going well until one of the hikers begins to feel sick. Their head starts hurting, their vision blurs, and suddenly the hiker passes out. Fortunately, the hiker was not too close to the edge of the trail. A little bit of water and a quick snack helped the problem subside. What was the cause? Heat stroke. The hiker in this story is me and had it not been for my friends, it could have been a lot worst.

Unfortunately, the same can happen for your pets.

However, just as my friends helped me, you can help save your pet, too.  Although that sounds truly terrifying, we're here to help make you aware of early signs of overheating and what you should do if you suspect your dog is experiencing a heat stroke.

What is Heat Stroke? 

Heat stroke occurs when normal body functions cannot keep the body’s temperature at a safe range. Animals do not have an efficient cooling system likes us humans who sweat. Thereby, our pets are more susceptible to heat stroke.

Indicators of Heat Stroke

Rapid panting, bright red tongue, red gums, thick saliva, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, shock and a coma are all clear indicators of a heat stroke. Once you see any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to act. Remove your furry friend from the hot area they are in and spray or immerse them in cool water before transporting to a veterinary facility.

What to Do if You Suspect your Pet is Experiencing a Heat Stroke

A pet with moderate heat stroke from 104 to 106 degrees can make a full recovery within a few hours if property treated. However, if your pet’s temperature is above 106 degrees, then you need to immediately rush to a veterinary clinic for proper care. In the meantime, you can also use cooling fans and cool, wet towels over the body and isopropyl alcohol on foot pads, axilla, and groin areas. 

Avoid ice!  Stop cooling when their temperature reaches 103 degrees to avoid hypothermia.  Carefully monitor any water intake and food is not recommended. In any event, even if your pet appears to be better, it is always best to take them to the vet.

What To Expect from Your Local Veterinarian

Here at the Larchmont Animal Clinic, our Los Angeles veterinarians will monitor your pet. His or her temperature will be regulated to a safe range. Your pet may be given fluids or even oxygen if needed. Whilst monitoring the temperature our veterinarians will also monitor any other abnormalities or respiratory issues. Lastly, blood samples may be taken in an effort to make sure everything is in the clear. Remember, dogs who suffer from heat stroke once are susceptible to getting it again. It is always best to look out for the symptoms especially during these summer days.