While it’s common knowledge that humans can suffer from heat stroke, few know that the warm weather can also cause the same illness in dogs.
Heat stroke is a condition that can affect all dogs, but some breeds are a little more susceptible to the heat.
The RSPCA website states: “Some types of dogs are more prone to heat stroke, such as very old or young dogs, dogs with thick, heavy coats, or dogs with very short, flat faces such as pugs and bulldogs. Dogs with certain medical conditions or on some types of medication are also more at risk.”
Dog breeds are most likely to suffer from heat stroke
According to the PDSA, these are some of the dog breeds most likely to suffer from heat stroke:
- English bulldog
- French bulldog
- dogue de bordeaux
- Shih Tzu
- Boston terrier
This is due to their flat faces, with noses playing a big part in a dog’s ability to cool off.
How do you recognize heat stroke in dogs?
Heat stroke is a serious illness that occurs when a dog is overheated and has trouble lowering its temperature.
Signs of heat stroke can include excessive panting, drooling, bright red gums, tremors, vomiting, and in severe cases, collapse.
The RSPCA also states that dogs can become lethargic or disoriented.
What to do if your dog has heat stroke?
Dogs suffering from heat stroke are in dire need of care to bring their temperature back down. The RSPCA recommends the following steps for a dog with heat stroke:
- Move the dog to a shady and cool place
- Immediately pour cool (not cold, to avoid shock) water over the dog. Tap water (15-16°C) has proven to be the most effective way to cool dogs with heat-related illnesses. In an emergency, any water is better than nothing.
- Wet towels placed over the dog can worsen the condition and trap heat. In mild cases, towels can be placed under the dog but never over it, and in a real emergency, submerging in water or pouring water with air movement is ideal.
- Have the dog drink small amounts of cool water
- Continue pouring cool water over the dog until his breathing calms down, but not so much that he starts shivering
- Dogs that have lost consciousness stop panting, although they still have a very high temperature, these dogs badly need aggressive chilling as a priority.
- While treating heat stroke, try to avoid pouring water on or near your dog’s head as there is a risk of water inhalation, which can lead to drowning, especially in flat-faced and unconscious dogs.
Once the dog has cooled down, take him to the nearest veterinarian immediately.