Heatstroke or Sunstroke and Treatment Instructions
Dogs can't sweat like people; hard panting is how their thermostat works to keep vital organs
The best treatment for heat or sun stoke is knowledge and prevention.
On a hot, muggy summer day, you sweat to cool your body.
Your dog can only pant to dissipate heat and when humidity is high, he has to work even harder.
Heatstroke Can Happen At Outdoor Activities
What's worse than a walk or the park with your dog on a hot day? Leaving them in the car!
NEVER LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED!
Surely you wouldn't want to torture them to death in a car which you parked in the shade – until the
sun moved and 15 minutes later, your car was an oven. Don't ever leave them in the car with the air
conditioner running. If the engine becomes overheated and shuts off, your dog can die in less than
twenty (20) minutes.
Preventing Sunstroke - and Sunburn
Make sure that your pet has access to shelter, shade and fresh water at all times.
Short coated dogs can actually get sunburned. There are sunscreen products on the market for pets,
but staying out of the sun is the best solution.
If your dog is shedding their winter coat, a good bath, regular brushing and grooming, and flea
control will make their summer a lot easier and avoid Vet bills for "skin problems".
What NOT to do
Don't hose them on a hot day because unless he stays out in the sun long enough to dry completely
(and no dog should do that) the dampness trapped next to the skin is likely to erupt into moist
eczema otherwise known as a "hot spot."
Never give them a "nice, big cool drink" immediately following any sort of vigorous exercise or a
heavy meal, even on a cool day. Give ice cubes to satisfy their thirst and cool them down.
Diagnosing Heat Stroke
If your dog is panting excessively, has labored breathing, is weak, staggering, disoriented (doesn't
respond normally when you call his name) has a bright red tongue but gums are pale, his pulse
(heart rate) is rapid, or he has thick saliva, especially in the back of his throat which further
impedes breathing, he needs immediate help. He may have any or all of these symptoms.
Run the hose until cold water comes out and then wet them down, paying attention to groin and
underarms. Don't use ice water because cooling your dog too quickly can cause his blood vessels to
constrict and that can actually slow down the cooling process. Have someone fetch a rectal
thermometer and check their temperature. If their temperature is over 105°, get your dog to your
Vet immediately as organ damage will begin to occur. If it is below, use your best judgment
depending on their symptoms. The goal is to drop their temperature to 103°.
Normal temperature for dogs is 101.5°.