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In spring or summer, heatstroke quickly happens. On the very sudden onset, it can be fatal to your dog. How to recognize it? How to avoid it? And how to react in the event of heatstroke? All the answers are here.
What is heat stroke?
Heatstroke is an increase in body temperature, called hyperthermia.
To know!
A dog’s normal body temperature is 38.5 ° C. In the event of heat stroke, the body temperature can rise above 39.5 ° C. Above 40.5 ° C; the dog must be taken to the nearest veterinarian without delay.
Heatstroke can occur following violent muscular effort, during uncontrolled and prolonged seizures or when the ambient temperature is high. Many heatstrokes occur in the car when the dog is left locked up in the sun or even during trips with the windows open!
Never leave your dog locked in the car!
A dog locked in a car, even with the windows partially open, can die in less than 30 minutes as soon as the outside temperature reaches 20 ° C. In the passenger compartment, behind the windows, the temperature can very quickly reach 70 ° C to 80 ° C. Real torture!
Heatstroke in dogs is an absolute emergency, just like a torsion of the stomach or a serious injury that must be taken care of as soon as possible by a veterinarian.
Which dogs are most sensitive to heat?
In fact, all dogs, without exception, are sensitive to heat for the reason that has to do with their physiology.
Obviously, they have thick fur that keeps them warm in all circumstances, but above all, they have very few sweat glands. The only ones they have to cover a very small body area between their pads (which is why they can leave paw prints when they are stressed or hot.).
As a result, they sweat very little and are unable to regulate their body temperature through the sweating mechanism, which is by far the most effective in cooling the body.
Their body nevertheless tries to regulate its internal temperature by using other mechanisms such as:
vasodilation, i.e. an increase in the diameter of the blood vessels located on the surface of the body in order to increase the surface area in contact with the air to dissipate as much heat as possible,
an increased respiratory rate which results in a hanging tongue and gasps so characteristic of a hot dog. This phenomenon allows the animal to breathe in more cool, dry air and to release more warm, humid air. It is all the less effective in an environment loaded with humidity (in confined spaces such as the interior of a car).
All these mechanisms use a lot of energy and put a lot of strain on the heart of the animal, which must “pump & nbsp;” faster.
For all these reasons, older dogs with heart disease, lung disease, overweight and puppies in which these adaptive mechanisms are less effective are even more sensitive to heat. This is also the case with flat-faced dogs, known as brachycephalic, such as bulldogs and boxers who have more difficulty breathing.
What are the signs of heatstroke in dogs?
The signs of heatstroke are as follows:
increased respiratory rate resulting in gasping and significant salivation. It can be complicated by breathing difficulties (the dog has trouble finding his air),
a state of restlessness that alternates with a state of depression and prostration,
decreased alertness and motor difficulties which can manifest as a staggering gait,
loss of consciousness and/or the onset of seizures.
These last two symptoms are signs of a stroke caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the dog’s brain. It can lead to a coma and the sudden death of the animal.
Other consequences of heatstroke can be bleeding disorders, acute kidney failure, destruction of muscle fibres, and heart rhythm disturbances which can lead to the death of the dog – even after it has been taken care of by a veterinarian and a doctor—apparent remission – up to 48 hours after heatstroke.
What to do in case of heatstroke?
At the first sign of heatstroke (panting and a staggering gait in general), immediately put your pet in a cool place and call your veterinarian immediately. Your pet should be taken there as quickly as possible.
While waiting and on the instructions of the veterinarian, you can start to cool the dog very gradually to lower his body temperature, and if you can, take his temperature with a rectal thermometer in order to communicate it to your veterinarian!
Do not immerse him in a bath of cold water; the thermal shock would cause very dangerous vasoconstriction, which would prevent the heat from escaping from his body. Start by applying a cool, damp cloth to his body, then after 5 minutes, shower him with cool, but not too cold, water for 10 minutes. Then continue to shower it by decreasing the temperature of the water very gradually.
Also, offer freshwater to the animal so that it can rehydrate if it is fit to drink.
On the way to the vet, in the car, but the air conditioning if possible or, failing that, open the windows wide, without forgetting to place a cool, damp cloth on the dog.
Upon arrival at the veterinarian, the dog can be placed under a cooled infusion, more effective and faster than external cooling to lower the temperature. The veterinarian will also administer medical treatment to him in order to remedy the possible cerebral, blood, renal, muscular or cardiac consequences of the heatstroke.
How to avoid heatstroke?
Never leave your dog in an enclosed and very hot place such as a car or the trunk of a car, even for a few minutes and even if the windows are ajar.
When driving in the car, turn on the air conditioning or open the windows, take breaks at least every 2 hours, during which you will ventilate your dog and offer him fresh water. You can also keep it cool with a cooling coat.
Make sure he doesn’t exercise too much.
If it is really too hot, avoid long walks and stop every now and then is cool, shady areas. I prefer walks during the cooler hours of the day.
Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. When going for walks, bring a bottle of cold water and a dog bowl or water bottle with you.
Wet its paws and belly.
You can also offer him a small swimming pool for him to cool off in or a cooling mat.


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