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What to do if your dog is overheating

1) Remove your dog from the heat immediately upon suspicion of heat exhaustion or stroke. Put him in the shade, in an air-conditioned car, or inside an air-conditioned house.

 2) Use a cool, wet cloth to moisten your dog’s face and paw pads. Doing so will allow evaporation to occur and the heat to dissipate. Offer your dog cool water to drink.

 3) Immerse your dog in cool water, thoroughly wetting his coat, as soon as it is possible to do so.

 4) Use a well-lubricated rectal thermometer to check your dog’s temperature every five minutes. Your dog can be moved safely when the thermometer indicates a temperature of 39.4 degrees celsius or below.

 5) Allow your dog to shake off excess water, then allow his coat to dry naturally.

 6) Bring him to the veterinarian for further treatment even if you think you have addressed the problem. Complications from being in extreme heat includes brain damage.


Tips & Warnings

  • Immediately remove your dog from the hot area if he shows any of the signs of either heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If he is in the direct sunlight, bring him into the shade or inside.
  • Give your dog water or an electrolyte solution formulated for children if he is willing to drink. If he is unwilling to drink, do not attempt to force him.
  • Never leave your dog in a car when it is hot or even warm outside. In many parts of the world there are penalties for doing so and while the damage to the dog may be devastating, the financial burden of having to pay a fine for leaving a dog in a car on a warm day, even with the windows open, will add to your troubles. The inside of a car can heat up to 39 degrees Celsius in just 10 minutes when it is only 29 degrees outside, even with the windows open.
  • If your dog is in danger of overheating, check on him frequently. Every five minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Consider getting a crate fan if you use a plastic airline-style crate. Always leave a full water bottle or bowl hanging from a crate door.
  • Ensure that your pet’s carrier has adequate air flow around its crate. Hot, stagnant air can turn your dog’s crate into an oven and cause heat exhaustion.
  • Pay attention to the rate of your dog’s panting. Because they have no way to reduce their internal temperature efficiently by sweating, they must pant to cool themselves. The hotter they get, the more rapid their panting becomes.
  • As heat exhaustion sets in, the inside of the dog’s ears will redden and nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may occur. It's important to know the signs of heat-related problems.
  • Heat stroke may first become evident when the dog becomes disoriented, confused, or lethargic. He may begin to drool excessively while at the same time refusing to drink, causing its saliva to become sticky.
  • If overheating continues, your dog may experience a temperature of 40.5 degrees Celsius, rectal bleeding, a loss of consciousness, coma or even death.
  • Once you have arrived at the vet, your dog will be given intravenous fluids and, if necessary, oxygen. He may need to stay overnight at the veterinarian’s office for observation.
  • Avoid using very cold water or ice water to bring your dog’s temperature down from dangerous levels. According to some sources, using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions.
  • Be mindful of surfaces your dog is walking on. Black asphalt, for example, or wood (as in boardwalks or piers) heat up quickly in the hot sun and can painfully burn your dog's pads at a time when his body is depending upon them to help him expel body heat.
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