Dog First Aid – Heatstroke

When the weather turns hot humans can remove their cold weather gear anytime they want. Dogs cannot discard their one of a kind fur coat thus they are more prone to heatstroke. Dogs do not sweat like humans because their very few sweat glands are located in the paws. To be able to regulate body temperature, dogs would pant. The dog’s body temperature though cannot be easily normalized simply by panting. This is the reason why heatstroke is common in dogs.

Because of the inefficient cooling system, dogs can overheat very easily. A dog that is left in the car with close windows or one that is left chained in the yard under the heat of the sun can succumb to hyperthermia. A dog that can no longer dispel the heat to regulate the body’s temperature will succumb to heatstroke. The breakdown of cells caused by high temperatures will thicken the blood and result to dehydration. As mentioned an elevated temperature would thicken the dog’s blood but once the temperature soared to 106°F, the heart, the liver, brain and other vital organs will be greatly affected. First aid methods that will make the elevated temperature of the dog is vitally important to save the dog from death.

Heatstroke is an emergency situation thus to be able to apply the necessary first aid methods, a dog owner has to have the ability to recognize the symptoms of this deadly condition. Rapid panting is one of the first signs of heatstroke. Thick saliva will drip from the bright red tongue. Affected dog would either have a pale or very red gums. Vomiting, diarrhea and a state of general weakness are other signs. Death is imminent if urgent treatment is not given to the pet.

Remove the pet from the hot confined area at once. The elevated temperature of the dog must be urgently reduced. This can be done by soaking the dog in cool water. Temperature can be dropped immediately by hosing the dog’s body.

Wet rolled towels can be placed on the dog’s head and neck. Temperature can be cooled rapidly by putting ice packs on the dog’s feet and by sponging the groin area. The temperature of the dog has to be reduced but very cold or ice water must not be used as it will constrict the blood vessels and prevent the heat from escaping. While first aid methods are being administered, it would also be necessary to take the temperature of the pet as cooling efforts must be stopped when the temperature drops to 103°F.

 

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