Heat stroke and dogs

Heat stroke and dogs


Mid-July already… We haven't had many very hot and sticky days yet this summer, but it's definitely coming. However, prevention is better than cure, so let's talk about heatstroke in dogs: which dogs are most at risk and how can you protect them against heatstroke? Here are answers to your questions.

I read recently that every year, humans succumb because of the intense heat. It is undoubtedly the same, and perhaps even more so, in animals and particularly in dogs which have a limited tolerance threshold for heat. 

Heatstroke in dogs can cause serious health problems and even death. I would like to say often, death, because we still see dogs arriving too late in veterinary clinics, perhaps because of owners who are less well informed or careless. So yes, heat stroke is a life or death emergency. Here are some answers to your questions on this subject.

1. Why are dogs more vulnerable than us to heat? 

Unlike us humans, dogs barely sweat. Only at the pads. They cannot therefore eliminate the heat of their body by sweating, which causes their internal temperature to increase more quickly than ours. The only method of dispersing heat they have left is through breathing, panting, but this method is less effective.

2. Some dogs are more sensitive to heat than others. Which ones?

Here are the dogs that are more susceptible to heatstroke with which one should be even more vigilant in hot and humid weather: 1 Dogs with flattened muzzles, such as the pug or the French bulldog, simply because they have a system inefficient breathing; 2 Dogs with thick coats; 3 Obese or overweight dogs, because fat is a good thermal insulator, but also because too much fat can also compress the lungs; 4 Senior dogs and puppies and, 5 Dogs with heart or respiratory problems.

3. What are the signs shown by a dog suffering from heatstroke?

We can observe several of these elements: a significant and constant panting, excessive salivation, more difficult breathing, gums of a very dark red color (brick red), a wider tongue, thickened and also of dark red color , restlessness, dizziness or weakness. If the dog is in advanced and critical condition, he may even be collapsed on the ground, unresponsive, with a rather fixed stare and possibly even convulsing. In any case, consult a veterinarian without delay!

4. How can I prevent heatstroke in my dog?

There are several things to do when it is very hot and humid outside. First of all, never leave your dog alone in the car, even with the windows open, nor in an enclosed, unventilated place like a tent. If you have air conditioning at home, keep your pooch indoors. Otherwise, if he finds himself outside, make water available to him. Lots of water! Give it a place in the shade. Avoid physical exercise altogether on hot days. Also avoid walks in direct sunlight. Take your dog outside at times of the day when it will be cooler. If you can, offer him a small children's pool that you will place in the shade and where he can cool off under your supervision. Keep an eye on his condition at all times and, if in doubt, contact your veterinarian.