As the weather heats up and the Summer approaches, it is time to think about how to protect your dog’s health during the upcoming warmer months. One of the most common ailments that can affect your dog’s wellbeing is heatstroke. In this article we look at what heatstroke is, how you can spot if you dog has been affected and how to prevent any heatstroke in the future.
What is heatstroke?
Heatstroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises above the natural level of between 38 to 39.2 degrees Celsius and does not regulate itself again within a reasonable length of time. Also known as heat exhaustion, this condition does not affect one breed of dog more than another, all dogs are susceptible to overheating if they are exposed to the sun for a long period of time however dogs who are overweight or have naturally thick hair will overheat more quickly than others. If heatstroke goes untreated and continues for an extensive period of time your dog can start to experience organ and tissue damage. A dog does not sweat, instead they will use panting as a way to try and regulate their body temperature. When the panting does not reduce the dog’s body temperature, that is when heatstroke will occur.
How to spot the signs?
There are a number of signs to look out for to determine whether your dog has begun to suffer from heatstroke. The first sign is excessive panting. As your dog begins to realise that their normal panting action is not reducing their body temperature, they will become distressed and pant excessively as they try to feel better. A dog will also begin to drool when they are suffering from heatstroke. As your dog pants, they will begin to produce more saliva and consequently they will also be able to produce less urine. The final symptom to look out for is anxious or abnormal behaviour. Your dog will feel overwhelmed with the heat and will act out to get your attention.
How can it be prevented?
If you want to prevent your dog from overheating there are a number of tactics that you can employ. The first is to keep your dog at a healthy weight, an overweight dog will be less equipped to regulate their own temperature so they will be more prone to heatstroke. The second is to walk your dog in the early morning or later in the evening when the weather becomes very warm. If you walk your dog in the middle of the day, they will be more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion. When you are not walking your dog do not leave your dog outside, or make sure that they have suitable shade to shelter from the sun when they feel the weather is too warm. Finally, always make sure your dog has plenty of water.
If you dog does develop heatstroke and you are unable to regulate their temperature naturally, always consult your vet for further guidance. For more dog advice visit our dog advice page, for a quote please visit our quote page. We offer pet insurance for pre existing medical conditions. We also offer pet insurance for older dogs.