What happens to your dog during a heatstroke?
Each second counts.
Unfortunately, every year there are deaths due to dogs overheating in hot cars.
In some cases, it doesn't take more than six minutes before the dog dies if the temperature is high enough.
What happens during a heat stroke?
Unlike humans, dogs cannot get rid of heat through sweating, so dogs must cool down in other ways.
When a dog's body gets too hot, the heart will beat faster. As a result, the dog will pant rapidly and a lot to get rid of hot heat through the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose.
Although this mechanism is effective, it only helps if the dog moved to a colder place. For example, if the dog is trapped in a hot car, it will not get rid of the heat quickly enough. That's when it gets serious because it does not take long for vital body functions to begin to fail.
After a short time, the heart may struggle to pump enough blood around the body. The dog will then be in a precarious situation. The blood pressure will drop, and the body will eventually go into a state of shock.
If the body temperature reaches between 42-44˚C (normal temperature is between 38-39˚C), internal organs will fail, and internal bleeding will occur. In addition, the kidneys stop working, and the brain does not get enough oxygen. In a short time, the dog may have suffered irreversible brain damage.
What are the visible signs of heatstroke?
Countless dogs have been rescued from almost certain deaths due to attentive citizens. If someone has seen a dog trapped in a car on a hot summer day and reacted, they have probably also seen some of the visible/audible signs of heatstroke:
- Intense panting/loud breathing
- Excessive licking
What do you do if you see a dog showing clear signs of heatstroke?
First and foremost, be sure to remove the dog from the heat. If that means you have to break a car window, then so be it. The owner will probably be forever grateful if the dog is rescued.
In addition, it is a good idea to call the emergency services as soon as possible. Even if the dog has been removed from the heat and appears to be OK, there may be internal damage that a veterinarian needs to examine. While you are waiting for the vet to come, you should attempt to cool down the dog.
- Place the dog in the shade
- Offer cold water for the dog to drink
- Empty water on the dog's body (not ice cold)
Pay extra attention to these breeds
All dogs can get heatstroke, but some breeds are more exposed than others. This is especially true of short-nosed/brachycephalic breeds because they can't get rid of the heat as efficiently.
Examples of such breeds are:
3: Bull Terrier
Obesity and heart disease will also lead to increased risk.