Dog First Aid – Heatstroke

Posted August 22nd, 2011 by gemainz

We humans can remove our coats, jackets and other cold weather gears when the weather warms up. Dogs cannot discard their one of a kind fur coat thus they are more prone to heatstroke. Because the sweat glands of dogs are mostly found in the paws these animals are believed to have no capability to sweat. Dogs can dispel the heat by panting. Panting though is not an efficient method of normalizing body temperature. This is the reason why heatstroke is common in dogs.

Heatstroke or hyperthermia is a very serious condition that can happen to a dog instantly. Heatstroke can occur very suddenly so that owners would be surprised if a healthy dog that was left in a hot confined space would develop symptoms of this deadly concern. This condition occurs when the body can no longer dissipate the heat that is being gained. The breakdown of cells caused by high temperatures will thicken the blood and result to dehydration. The increase in the body temperature of the dog will result to the thickening of the blood that can result to the death of the tissues and put great pressure to the other vital organs of the body. Death of the dog is imminent if nothing is done to quickly bring down the elevated temperature.

Heatstroke is an emergency situation thus to be able to apply the necessary first aid methods, a dog owner has to have the ability to recognize the symptoms of this deadly condition. Rapid panting is one of the first signs of heatstroke. Bright red tongue and thick saliva are symptoms of heatstroke. The abnormal pale or red gums are indications that the dog has heatstroke. Diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy are other signs of heatstroke. The condition will lead to the death of the dog if urgent treatment is not administered.

The dog has to be taken to a shady or cool area. First aid treatment’s objective is to reduce the elevated temperature of the dog. Soaking the dog in cool water can achieve this purpose. Hosing the dog is another way of bringing down the temperature.

Wet rolled towels can be placed on the dog’s head and neck. Temperature can be cooled rapidly by putting ice packs on the dog’s feet and by sponging the groin area. Ice cold water must not be used in lowering the dog’s temperature as the cold will constrict blood vessels making it hard for the heat to escape. First aid methods to cool the dog must be stopped when the rectal temperature reading has reached 103°F.

Read more about heatstroke and first aid for dogs at Sarah’s Dogs.

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