Heat Stroke in Dogs by Dr. Eric Shreves

It’s that time of year when the temperature outside starts to rise, the sunshine is abundant, and our outdoor activities become a common place.  While outside, most of us will include our four-legged family members to enjoy the sunshine and warmth with us.

While we our outside enjoying the summertime, we must be cautious to monitor our pets to ensure that they are not getting overheated.  Heat stroke can occur in our pets due to excessive exercise, or just prolonged exposure to the elements.  Heat stroke can occur in any breed, but it is more frequent in long-haired dogs and short-nosed, flat-faced dogs known as brachycephalic breeds.  It may occur in any age dog, but tends to affect younger dogs more than older dogs.

Some of the symptoms of heat stroke that you will notice include panting, excessive drooling, increased body temperature over 103.0 degrees, bright red gums, vomiting and diarrhea, muscle tremors, black tarry stools, seizures, and a wobbly drunken gait.  If any or a few of the above signs are noted after being outside, seeking your veterinarian’s help immediately is critical.

Three tips on preventing heat stroke in your dog include:

1) Ensure that any dog that is outdoors has access to plenty of water and shade.

2) Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car.

3) Restrict outdoor exercise to the early morning and late evening when temperatures are cooler.

With just a little precaution and observation, both you and your pet can enjoy a great summer outdoors while minimizing the chances of heat stroke in your pet.  And most of all: Have fun!