Heat stroke can happen to both people and animals although it is more common in dogs because they have fewer ways to cool themselves down.
Dogs only sweat through their paw pads, but, they rely mainly on panting to cool down. When the air gets really warm this becomes harder to do.
Common signs of heat stroke include:
- Excessive panting
- Drooling – often thick
- Bright red gums and tongue
If it isn’t treated right away, your dog may suffer seizures, coma and even death.
What to do to cool down your pet:
- Start by moving your dog into a cooler environment – air conditioned areas are ideal if available.
- Place him in a tub of cool, but not icy, water.
- Wipe his head down with cold, wet cloths and encourage him to drink cool water.
- Take his temperature regularly at ten minute intervals. Over 104 F is too hot.
- You should take him to a veterinarian immediately as there are some complications that can ensue after heat stroke.
The best course is to avoid it altogether. On hot days, if your pet is outside, make sure he has access to lots of cool water and shade. Try putting ice cubes into his water bucket periodically to keep it cool and refreshing. You can also feed him straight ice cubes.
Never leave your dog in a car in hot weather as the temperature in a vehicle can climb very rapidly. Avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day – aim for early morning and the evenings when things have begun to cool off a bit. Also be aware of hot asphalt, your dog doesn’t wear shoes and can burn his pads on the asphalt. Try to walk him in areas where he can stay on the grass.