Unfortunately, the dog days of summer only increase the chances of heat stroke
in dogs. This condition can be fatal
if you don't treat it very quickly, and you want to catch the early onset symptoms to decrease the health problems your dog has.
We'll go over five important ways to recognize heat stroke so you can keep your dog safe this summer.
1. Heavy Panting
Dogs don't have the capability to sweat like humans do when they get hot or overheated, and this is why they pant. When they pant, they're releasing some of the heat that builds up in their bodies, they're also circulating cooler air throughout their systems in an attempt to cool down.
One of the easier signs of heat stroke
is when your dog starts to pant heavily,
or they seem like they're struggling to get enough air in.
Normal panting means that your dog has their mouth slightly open, and heavy panting is characterized by a wide open mouth and a swollen tongue hanging out.
2. Excessive Drooling
It's normal for dogs to drool on occasion, but one of the more serious signs of heat stroke is that your dog will start to excessively drool. This is usually accompanied by heavy panting as they struggle to cool down.
When your dog creates excessive drool, they're trying to lower their internal body temperatures in a rapid manner. The excessive drool can help them dissipate heat better than just panting can, but you typically want to move them somewhere shaded before it gets worse.
3. Frequent Breaks
Your dog will tell you if something is wrong, and if you notice them trying to take frequent breaks and lie down, it's a good indicator that they're trying to cool off. They may head for cooler shaded areas in your yard, or lay down and simply refuse to move until they cool down.
If you notice this and your dog isn't in a shaded area, move them to a shaded area or indoors with air conditioning. Also, make sure that they have a supply of fresh water available because this will help the cool down process go quickly.
4. Racing or Irregular Heartbeat
Your dog's body will try to protect itself by funneling as much of their overheated blood as possible away from their vulnerable organs and into their extremities. To do this, your dog's body will increase their heart rate, because this will pump the blood away from their organs quicker.
This can be extremely dangerous for your dog because it can result in abnormalities with your dog's heart beating. If your dog gets to this point, you want to take them to your local veterinarian and have them looked at because your veterinarian can safely monitor their heartbeat.
5. Vomiting and Diarrhea
Once your dog passes into the more severe stages of heat stroke, you'll start to notice symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. These symptoms can quickly progress into seizures and brain swelling, and this can easily be fatal.
If your dog gets to this point, you want to take them to your local veterinarian as quickly as possible because they have access to the tools and equipment that they need to stabilize your dog. Their organs can also suffer damage at this stage if your dog doesn't receive the proper care.
Heat stroke in dogs is a very real danger, and the summer temperatures continue to climb during the dog days of summer. Knowing the common signs and symptoms can help to protect your dog and keep them happy and healthy all year round.