Dog days: How to save your dog from a heat stroke

The most popular pet in the US has a higher risk of overheating than people do

How to identify a heat stroke and save your dog from one.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida summers are not just hot; they can be dangerous.

With summers getting hotter, dogs in hot environments may have a heat stroke.

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Dogs have a higher risk of overheating because they only cool down by panting or blood vessel expansion, according to Fetch by WebMD. They only have minimal sweat glands in the footpads - not enough to cool them down.

Dogs are the most popular pet in the United States with about 69 million households owning at least one dog, according to Statista.

If a heat stroke is not treated quickly, it can be fatal. Any hot environment can lead to a heat stroke, but according to Pet MD, the most common cause is a careless action by pet owners, including leaving dogs in hot cars or forgetting to provide water and shade to outdoors pets.

An overheating dog can be unable or unwilling to move around or excessively panting. Other signs include drooling, dilated pupils, dry mucous membranes, vomiting, mental dullness, loss of consciousness and collapse, according to PetMD.

If you think your dog is having a heat stroke, here’s what to do:

  • Remove your dog from the hot environment, fan your dog and provide shade.
  • Keep your dog’s head elevated to prevent aspiration pneumonia, which is when the dog’s lungs become inflamed.
  • Keep water from entering the nose or mouth if your dog is unconscious.
  • If not unconscious, let your dog drink as much cool water without forcing it.
  • Do not give your dog aspirin. This can lead to other problems.
  • Call the nearest vet or emergency animal clinic to let them know you are on your way. Your dog needs veterinary attention, and the vet will find any problems that can’t be seen on the surface, such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure or internal bleeding.
  • The vet will treat your dog, mostly by replacing lost fluids and minerals.

About the Author:

Ashley joined in June 2022.