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Preventing Heat Stroke in Dogs Is Easy

How to Prevent Heat Stroke in Dogs

We’ve been walking dogs in Miami for over eleven years, and the summers just keep getting hotter. Ensuring our clients’ dogs are safe during our notoriously hot weather is a MUST. That’s why our dog walkers are trained to prevent heatstroke by knowing the types and symptoms of heat injury. 

They are also trained in how to keep dogs well-hydrated and instructed to keep them in the shade, off the asphalt, and to refrain from running in 90-degree weather. We’ll be sharing tips with you so that you, too, can protect your dogs during the hottest months in Miami!

Hyperthermia and Heat Stroke: what are they? 

Hyperthermia means that your pup or cat has overheated and has an elevated temperature. The normal body temperature range for your dogs is between 100.4 and 102.5, and the same goes for cats. Anything above that can mean hyperthermia has set in, which can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening situation. 

Definition of heat stroke: 

Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency that can be fatal if not treated immediately. It occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises to dangerously high levels. This can happen when a dog is exposed to hot weather, strenuous exercise, or other factors that cause the body to overheat.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

The symptoms of heat stroke in dogs can vary, but some common signs include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Glazed eyes
  • Bright red gums
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

We will see petechiae (blood vessels start to burst) on the surface (a pup’s belly) and internally. Professionals also refer to this as DIC, when the blood vessels burst in the intestines and the kidneys stop functioning, and there is organ failure. A pup may poop out blood, their nose will bleed, and death is imminent.

Causes of Heat Stroke in Dogs

The most common causes of heat stroke in dogs are:

  • Being left in a hot car
  • Exercising in hot weather
  • Being exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Having a medical condition that makes it difficult to regulate body temperature (short-nosed breeds, seniors, obese dogs)

Please pay extra attention to your dogs when you walk them during the height of summer in Miami!

Prevention of Heat Stroke in Dogs

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent heat stroke in your dog, including:

  • Never leave your dog in a hot car. Even on a mild day, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to dangerous levels.
  • Avoid exercising your dog in hot weather. If you do need to take your dog for a walk, make sure it’s early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler outside.
  • Make sure your dog has plenty of water to drink. You can also try giving them a frozen water bottle to lick.
  • Keep your dog in the shade as much as possible. Asphalt heats up quickly and may harm the pads on your dog’s paws. A quick exercise to determine whether your pup can handle the heat: place your hand on the asphalt. If you can’t keep your hand on it for 4 seconds without feeling pain, your dog should not be running on that surface. You can also use Musher’s Secret, an all-natural, non-toxic salve, to coat the pads of your pups’ paws and protect them from extremely hot roads and pavement.
  • Watch for signs of heat stroke. If you see any of the signs of heat stroke, take your dog to the vet immediately.

Treatment for Heat Stroke

If you think your dog may be suffering from heat stroke, it’s important to act quickly. Important: do not use ice to cool them down! You will restrict their capillary blood vessels and make it harder for them to cool down!  Here are some steps you can take, with the ultimate goal of getting them to their veterinarian asap:

  1. Get your dog to a cool place out of the heat. 
  2. Apply cool, wet towels to your dog’s body and switch them out. Put a fan on them to cool them down.
  3. Offer your dog plenty of cool water to drink.
  4. If your dog is conscious, you can try giving them a small amount of ice to lick.
  5. Do not give your dog any food or alcohol.
  6. Take your dog to the vet immediately.

With prompt treatment, most dogs who suffer from heat stroke make a full recovery. However, heat stroke can be fatal if not treated quickly. By following the tips in this blog post, you can help keep your dog safe and healthy during the hot summer months.

Additional Tips

  • If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, make sure to have someone come over to check on your dog and give them water.
  • If you are taking your dog on a long car ride, make sure to bring plenty of water and stop every few hours to let your dog cool down.
  • If you are playing with your dog in hot weather, take breaks often and let your dog cool down in the shade.
  • If you notice any signs of heat stroke, take your dog to the vet immediately.

We hope these tips help you keep your beloved dogs safe from heat stroke during Miami’s worst summer months! Our dog walkers are trained to recognize the signs of heat stroke, so rest assured that we know how to keep them safe. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need dog walks or pet sitting while you’re working or on vacation!

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