Heatstroke in Dogs: Recognizing the Signs

heat stroke in dogs in manchester nh
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As the sizzling summer days settle into Manchester, NH, it’s crucial that our furry friends’ safety remains a top priority. Heatstroke in dogs is a serious and potentially fatal condition, yet it’s largely preventable with the right knowledge and care. At Best Friends Animal Hospital, we are committed to ensuring that your dog enjoys the summer months safely.

Understanding Dog Heatstroke

Dogs, much like humans, can suffer from heatstroke – a severe form of hyperthermia that results when the body’s heat-dissipating mechanisms can’t accommodate the heat it’s experiencing. Unlike us, our canine companions have limited ability to cool down by sweating. They primarily rely on panting to regulate their body temperature.

The Dangers of Overheating

If a dog’s internal temperature rises too high (usually above 104 degrees Fahrenheit), it can lead to heatstroke, which is often characterized by symptoms such as excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, and even seizures. This could cause irreversible damage to a dog’s internal organs, including the heart, liver, kidneys, and brain.

Why Certain Breeds Are More at Risk

Some dog breeds are more susceptible to heatstroke than others. Brachycephalic breeds, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih Tzus, who have short noses and flat faces, struggle more to cool themselves down. Overweight dogs, elderly dogs, or those with heart and respiratory conditions are also at a higher risk.

Recognizing the Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

Knowing the signs of heatstroke in dogs can be the difference between life and death. Be vigilant for symptoms such as excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. More severe symptoms include seizures, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.

When to Call a Best Friends Animal Hospital

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to act fast. Lower your dog’s temperature by moving them to a cool area, applying cool (not cold) water to their fur and skin, and providing plenty of fresh, cool water to drink. Once you’ve taken these steps, call us immediately at Best Friends Animal Hospital at (603) 625-2378. Please be sure to cool the car with air conditioning before putting the dog in the vehicle to transport to the hospital. 

Preventing Dog Heatstroke

Preventing heatstroke in dogs is a joint effort of staying informed and practicing good pet care habits. Always ensure your dog has access to clean, fresh water and shady areas when outside. Never leave your dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes, as the temperature inside can quickly rise to dangerous levels.

Top Tips for a Safe Summer

Early morning and evening walks when the temperature is cooler will help prevent your pet from overheating. Consider investing in cooling mats or doggie paddling pools for your furry friend to enjoy during hotter months.

Expert Advice from Best Friends Animal Hospital

At Best Friends Animal Hospital, we know that your pet is a valued member of your family. We’re dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and services needed to keep your dog healthy and happy. Call us at (603) 625-2378 for more information on how we can assist in the care of your pet.

Remember, with a bit of knowledge, caution, and proactive steps, your dog can safely enjoy the warm summer days. Stay vigilant, know the signs, and keep your best friend safe from heat stroke this summer.

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