DR. CRISTINA VALAS, DVM

Owner, The Family Pet Hospital

The high temperatures this time of year can cause your animal to become overheated, and this can lead to heat exhaustion which is a step before heat stroke, a life-or-death situation. Overheating occurs when it is 90 degrees or above. Since dogs do not sweat through the body, excess heat is dissipated through evaporation from the tongue and oral cavity. Dogs do have sweat glands between their toes, but these are not very effective at cooling.

“CERTAIN BREEDS – bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers – that have pushed-in faces and tiny noses are prone to overheating even at much lower temperatures. .”

DR. CRIS VALAS

CERTAIN BREEDS – bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers – that have pushed-in faces and tiny noses are prone to overheating even at much lower temperatures. These dogs are further compromised by having excess tissue at the back of the throat, small nasal passages and a narrow windpipe, making it to breathe. The sooner you realize your dog is overheated the better. Heavy panting and loud, raspy breathing are signs to look for, and this condition progresses rapidly to heat exhaustion when you see the dog has bright, red gums and an inability to get up or the dog is staggering.

IF YOU SUSPECT OVERHEATING:

Take a rectal temperature. If it measures over 103 degrees and the dog is exhibiting signs, cool the dog by soaking him with room temperature water and place a fan on him. You can also put ice packs on the major blood vessels on either side of the neck and in the groin area and put rubbing alcohol between the toes on the underside of the paws. Never wrap a dog in a wet towel as that insulates the heat.

If the temperature registers 104 degrees or higher or your dog is showing signs of heat exhaustion, transport your dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If your dog is vomiting, has profuse diarrhea, is unable to walk and is obtunded (unresponsive), he has heat stroke and needs immediate emergency care. The sooner you get the dog to the vet, the more likely the dog is to make it as multiple organ failure and clotting issues often ensue in dogs with heat stroke.

“The sooner you get the dog to the vet, the more likely the dog is to make it as multiple organ failure and clotting issues often ensue in dogs with heat stroke.”

DR. CRIS VALAS

Questions? Email Dr. Cristina Valas below, or
Call our hospital to speak to one of our customer service representatives, (508)-231-1223.

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