As this summer has been exceedingly hot, I thought I would write a post about heat stroke and some pointers for reducing the risk for your pet. Heat stroke is (unfortunately) a common problem with outdoor dogs this time of year, especially when temperatures are soaring into the 100's. I know it sounds like a no brainer, but the most important things you can do are to make sure your dog has shade and plenty of water. It is easy to forget how fast water can evaporate in this kind of heat, so make sure that you re-fill the water dishes often. Dogs with thick coats of fur, even if it is relatively short, should be shaved. That thick fur is just like you wearing your winter coat out in this heat! Another great idea is to add water misters to their pen to act as an air conditioner. And lastly, DO NOT leave your dog in a vehicle even if the windows are cracked!!!!!
Symptoms of heat stroke include: Excessive panting; recumbent (lying on side); pale mucous membranes (gums and inside of cheeks); and unresponsiveness
Emergency treatments: It is very important to get the dog's temperature down as quickly as possible. Heat stroke dog temps will be above 105 degrees. The best thing that you can do is get your dog into a veterinarian, so that they can be started on IV fluids and the vet can work on lowering the dog's temperature. However, if you are unable to get to a vet clinic, there are some things that you can try. First of all, you don't want to lower the temperature too quickly. One of the best ways to lower temperatures is to poor rubbing alcohol along the dog's spine. Rubbing alcohol evaporates more quickly than water, thus acting as a coolant. Also, a room temperature water enema works well. You don't want to use cold water as the dog's temperature is already well above room temperature and cold water would be too much of a shock to the dog's system.
Even with proper treatment, a heat stroke victim's chances of survival are minimal. So, the best treatment is prevention. Please be aware of our four legged friends during this heat wave and do what you can to keep them safe and comfortable.