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Heatstroke in dogs. Know the signs.

We are quickly coming into summer, the time of year when we all need to keep cool. Around Australia things can get quite hot quite quickly.  Dogs, like humans, sometimes struggle to overcome hot weather.

Hot weather can be tough on dogs, and can sometimes lead to heat stroke.

Let’s look at some helpful information about heat stroke in dogs – what it is, its causes, signs and the best treatments should it happen to your pet. We’ll also look at preventative measures you can take, for a happy dog in the hotter months.

What is Heat Stroke? Identification and Causes

Said simply, heat stroke happens when a dog’s core body temperature becomes too high.

There are two types of heat stroke in dogs. The first is called “Classic heat stroke” and happens when your pet is exposed to overly hot and humid environments.

Dogs usually pant to help them cool down. However, it if gets too hot, panting becomes less effective in cooling them down. If humidity reaches over 80% panting actually becomes ineffective and your dog can overheat.

The second cause is known as “extertional heat stroke” and usually happens due to too much exercise.

The Signs

Your dog may show the following signs:

  • Feeling hot to the touch
  • Heavy panting
  • Weird behaviour – your dog may appear confused
  • Collapsing, becoming non-responsive, or even suffering a seizure
  • Vomiting closely followed by diarrhoea (often bloody)
  • A fast heart rate and very bright pink/red gums
  • Dark brown / black urine, or no urine due to kidney failure
  • Internal and external bleeding
  • Muscle break down – your dog may not be able to walk due to muscular pain