Dogs And Heatstroke: Know What To Look For And What To Do

Dogs are resourceful in terms of finding shade if you allow them to play outside during the heat of the day. Some might even dig a hole in the yard and lay in the cool dirt. However, if your yard doesn't have much shade, or if you have trained your dog not to dig, your dog could experience heat stroke if they play outdoors for too long.

Since long-haired dogs have more hair covering their body, these small little fur balls have a higher risk of having a heat stroke. This guide explains what to look for and what to do for your long-haired dog should a heat stroke occur. 

Why Heat Stroke Happens

Heatstroke is the result of your dog being exposed to high temperatures and having an elevated body temperature with an inability to cool down. This elevated body temperature can cause dehydration and other health issues. Heatstroke can happen to your dog even though he or she may not appear to be feeling the effects of the temperature.

Symptoms of Heatstroke

Your dog will begin to display some signs of heatstroke that are obvious signals that they need attention. Heavy panting is usually a sign that your dog is trying to catch its breath and cool itself down. Drooling, fatigue and dizziness are also symptoms of heatstroke. You can tell if your dog is dizzy if they have trouble walking or running in a straight line, or if they have trouble standing up.

How to Deal With Heatstroke

Heatstroke requires your immediate attention. Move your dog to a cool, shady area as soon as possible. Place a cold cloth around the dog's neck and try to use cool water to lower its body temperature.

If you feel that the situation is perilous, move the dog to the garden hose area and spray him with the water from the spigot. The cool water will lower your dog's body temperature quickly. However, it's still important to keep your dog calm and get them to drink some water as soon as possible. Even though you have cooled down the outside of their body, you must hydrate the inside as well.

Call the vet and let them know that you are bringing the dog in for examination. Be prepared for your dog to remain at a veterinary hospital, like Animal House Veterinary Hospital, overnight if needed for observation.  

Keep a close eye on your dog when they are outside playing to ensure they are not getting overheated, especially if they have long hair. To prevent heat stroke altogether, only allow your dog to play outdoors in the morning or early evening hours, when the heat of the sun is not as strong.