Summer means heat, and for many dogs, heat is bad news. As a dog owner, you can take steps to prevent your dog from developing heat exhaustion. You can keep them in the shade when they're outside, always provide them with plenty of cold water to drink, and leave the air conditioning on for them when they are not home. But sometimes accidents happen, and as such, it is important to also know the signs of heat exhaustion and what you can do for a dog that develops it.
The Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs
Panting is not always a sign of heat exhaustion in dogs; it is normal for a dog who is hot to pant to cool himself off. However, excessive, heavy panting in combination with the symptoms described below is one of the most recognizable signs of heat exhaustion.
The other signs of heat exhaustion include excessive drooling, a dry nose, vomiting, and lethargy. If you lift your dog's lips, you will see that the gums are very red.
As heat exhaustion becomes more severe, symptoms like seizures, muscle tremors, and staggering start to appear. If you do not seek prompt treatment for your dog, he may fall into a coma, and then death is likely.
Treating Heat Exhaustion in Dogs
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from heat exhaustion, the first thing you need to do is move him to a cool place. If possible, take the dog inside to an air-conditioned space. If this is not an option, at least seek the shade. Give your dog a small amount of cool (not overly cold) water to drink, and start pouring cool water over his body. You can apply the water with a sponge if needed.
Once you have the dog cooling off in a cool space, call the vet. If your own vet's office is closed, call an emergency animal hospital. They will likely tell you to transport your dog there ASAP, all the while working to keep him cool. (Turn the AC on in the car, and have someone keep offering him sips of cool water.)
Your vet can give your dog some IV fluids to restore hydration and also take further action, such as putting the dog in a cool bath, to bring him temperature back into the normal range. Your dog may have to stay overnight at the animal hospital for monitoring in more severe cases.
Early detection is key to successful recovery from heatstroke, so know the symptoms above and what to do if you ever see a dog displaying them.
For further tips, reach out to a company like Norwin Veterinary Hospital.