Heat stroke or hyperthermia in dogs
It’s time to talk on the #blog about something as important as heat stroke or hyperthermia in dogs and how to avoid it.
The majority of heat strokes in dogs are caused by irresponsible behavior of their owners, ignorance of the physiology of the animal or neglect in the daily habits of our small furry.
- Dogs do NOT have sweat glands, so they cannot regulate their body temperature through sweat, as we do. The only way they have to eliminate excess heat is by gasping (opening the salivary glands and causing a quick and shallow breath that causes the warm air to flow through the trachea and the tongue, helping to evaporate moisture, which removes heat from the blood), and through the isolated areas where they have less hair: pads on the legs and belly.
- The average temperature of the dog is 39 degrees (do not increase it…).
- Most heat strokes occur when there are high temperatures and/or humidity (which greatly increases the likelihood of heat stroke), or on a day of moderate heat that has followed several consecutive hot days (we tend to trust ourselves and that day is a trap).
- Heat stroke is often fatal.
Having these factors always present, our common sense and our responsibility should be aimed at ALWAYS AVOID increasing the body heat of the dog in times of heat as well as not contribute to cause a direct heat stroke by placing it in closed spaces where heat and / or moisture is concentrated.
How do we know if our dog is suffering from heat stroke? A dog begins to show symptoms of hyperthermia when it exceeds 42 degrees internal body temperature. Symptoms are usually clear:
- Asthenia. The dog moves little, its forces evaporate… just as its mineral salts and the sugar in its body have already done.
- Panting. The dog tries to regulate its temperature in this way and thus keep cool the brain, which is the organ that regulates heat.
- Icreased heart rate. Caused by dehydration.
The longer the dog is exposed to the factors that cause its body temperature to rise, the more other symptoms will appear… prolonged exposure to high temperatures depresses the nervous system and prevents the normal functioning of vital organs.
- Muscle tremors and/or vomiting. The dog refuses to move or already wobbles and gets dizzy.
- Cyanosis. It is the bluish color of the skin caused by the deficient oxygenation of the blood.
- Petechiae. They are blood spots on the skin.
- Gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Liver and/or kidney failure.
- Cerebral edema.
- Multiorgan failure.
If our dog is suffering from heat stroke we can apply a series of first aid, in the event that we cannot take him urgently to the veterinary.
- Take him to a cool place. Submerge it in water at about 20° or apply a jet of water at that temperature, until the breathing normalizes.
- Wet (without wrapping or covering) primarily the neck and head with cloths soaked in not very cold water. NEVER COVER it with wet towels. If possible, help yourself with a fan.
- A good measure is to put an ice cube on the bridge of the nose, in the groin and armpits.
- Moisten his mouth, without forcing him to drink, and without letting him drink excessively.
- When breathing is normal, keep it on a damp towel.
As you can see avoiding a heat stroke to our dog is of vital importance and can be achieved by being aware of its consequences and being responsible in its care. Here are a few good tips to help us avoid them:
- Keep your dog hydrated. Frequently give him fresh, refreshed water without letting him drink large amounts at once.
- Keep your dog in large, ventilated spaces, and if they are outdoors, where there are shadows.
- Take it for a walk at the first and last hour of the day, avoiding the physical exercise or the walk in the hottest hours.
- NEVER lock him in a small place without ventilation (like a car), or in a place where he is directly exposed to the sun (a balcony).