Pets Heat Stroke
Heat stroke occurs when the dog's ability to regulate its body temperature is lost. A dog regulates body temperature primarily through respiration. When the respiratory tract cannot evacuate heat quickly enough, the body temperature rises. Normal body temperature is less than 103 °F, but once the temperature goes over 105 °F a number of physiologic events can occur that make it even more difficult for the animal to regain control of its temperature.
Never leave a dog in a closed automobile, unventilated garage or other enclosure for any length of time in hot weather.
· Provide shade cover for dogs that are outdoors.
· Avoid excessive exercise of dogs during hot weather.
· Keep plenty of fresh drinking water available at all times for dogs.
· Avoid hot sidewalks and pavements that can burn your pet's paws.
On a hot summer day the inside of your car heats up very quickly. On an 85 °F day, for example, the temperature inside your car--with the windows slightly opened--will reach 102 °F in 10 minutes! In 30 minutes, it will go to up to 120 °F. On warmer days, it will go even higher.
A dog's normal body temperature is 101.5 to 102.2 °F. A dog can withstand a body temperature of 107-108 °F for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage--or even death. The closed confines of a car interferes with a dog's normal cooling process, that is, evaporation through panting.
Canine Heat Stress Treatment
In heatstroke cases, high fever must be reduced rapidly to save the dog's life and prevent brain damage. If heatstroke occurs, you should do the following:
· Gradually immerse the dog in cool water if possible, or spray the dog with cool water from a garden hose.
· Apply ice packs to the dog's head and neck.
· Take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Heat exhaustion or heat cramps must also be treated by a veterinarian.
Heat stroke is an emergency that requires veterinary assistance, but effective initial treatment can be started before heading for the veterinary hospital. Aggressively assist the dog's efforts to lower body temperature with the use of water and air. Submersion of the dog in cool water will start to bring the temperature down quickly. Avoid extremely cold water or ice since they cause the blood vessels in the skin to constrict and will not allow for a meaningful heat exchange. If there isn't anything available to submerse the dog in, you can start wetting him down with a hose. The dog should be in a well-ventilated, shady area to allow for evaporation of the water. Evaporation cools body temperatures very effectively.
Following intervals of high activity, return the dog to an air conditioned vehicle, or wet the dog down and go to an area that is shaded and preferably breezy to allow for evaporation and cooling. Make sure there is access to reasonable volumes of cool fresh water both before and after activity