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Knowing the Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion can be dangerous, even fatal, for dogs. It can also be devastating for uninformed or unsuspecting pet owners. Fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do to protect your dog from the dangers of heat exhaustion.

Recognize the Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Your Dog

Dogs suffering from heatstroke will normally exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Panting
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excess salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

As the symptoms progress and the dog’s body temperature increases, signs become even more serious.
  • Weakness

  • Staggering

  • Gasping

  • Gum color may become brick red, then purple or blue (cyanosis)

  • Seizures

  • Coma

  • Death

Treatment of Heat Exhaustion

If you believe your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, seek veterinary care immediately even if your dog’s condition does not seem serious. Cool water can be used to begin to decrease his body temperature during the trip to the veterinarian. Cool/Luke-warm water applied to their feet pads! You can also place the towels between his legs and across his neck. Do not use cold water or ice. This may make the situation worse.


Preventing Heat Exhaustion

In many cases, heat exhaustion is preventable.

  • Never leave your dog untended in your car, even if the temperature is mild. In a locked car, the temperature can climb rapidly to a dangerous level. A cracked window will not prevent your dog from overheating and suffering heatstroke. Never assume your pet will be okay in the car for “just a minute” while you run into the store or attend another errand. An unexpected delay could endanger your dog’s life!

  • Animals should have access to shade and fresh water while outdoors. If the temperature is very warm, outdoor access should be limited to short periods of time and the dog should be housed indoors.

  • If your dog is working in warm weather, be prepared to offer him water at regular intervals, and understand that he may drink more water than usual under these circumstances.

  • Use caution with dogs that are obese have respiratory difficulties, are geriatric, or are otherwise unhealthy. These dogs may be more prone to heat exhaustion than other dogs.

  • In addition, short-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds of dogs are at higher risk of heat exhaustion than other breeds

If you think your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion call us immediately at 410-633-8808.

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