With summer approaching, it is very important to pay attention to our fur friends when taking them for walks or even when staying indoors.
Heatstroke is a very serious condition that, if not treated or prevented early enough can cause serious internal damage and can even be life threatening. It usually occurs when our pet overheats and is unable to cool down and regulate his core body temperature.
So what signs and symptoms do we need to watch for in our pets to prevent this condition from happening?
When a dog overheats the first sign to look for is a heavy, rapid panting. Since most of dog's sweat glands are located in his tongue, fastened breathing is one of the first symptoms to watch out for. Further, dogs usually start staggering and displaying uncoordinated movements. They become weak, slow and very lethargic. Their gums and tongue become dark or bright red and they will excessively salivate and drool. Another symptom is vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes with traces of blood). Their body temperature may increase to up to 43 Celsius degree. In some severe cases dogs may even experience seizures, unconsciousness and in most extreme cases even coma.
Ways to prevent overheating in dogs or possible heatstroke include moving them away from hot and humid places into cool and shaded areas. Splashing cool (not freezing) water to lower their body temperature on their back, paw pads, back of their head and neck. Letting them drink cool water in small amounts without forcing until they don't want to drink anymore. A fan or air- conditioner are also very helpful to aid in the evaporation and cooling.
Recognising the symptoms and acting immediately when suspecting heatstroke in your pet is crucial for their survival and full recovery. Getting it treated fast enough is instrumental as it can progress very rapidly. It is also very important to contact the vet even though the condition was mild or has improved.
Always pay attention to what your dog is trying to communicate to you. Be vigilant and stay pawsitive!