HEATSTROKE AND DOGS: Know the Symptoms

HEATSTROKE AND DOGS: Know the Symptoms

by Jessica Peralta in DogsNaturally.com You’re walking along with your 80-pound, long-haired shepherd one warm, sunny afternoon. You’re breaking a bit of a sweat, but you feel just fine in your shorts and tank. But then you look over at Thor, and he’s not looking too good … his eyes are glazed, he’s panting heavily and he’s starting to pull back on the leash. “But, it’s not that hot,” you say to yourself. “What is up with Thor?” Thor is probably on his way to having heatstroke, which means he is quickly losing his ability to regulate his body temperature because of an overabundance of heat. Dogs don’t sweat the way we do – they only have sweat glands in their nose and pads of their feet. And their only real recourse when they are overheating is to pant, which sometimes isn’t enough. Add to that the fact that their bodies are covered in fur and their paws are usually in direct contact with hot concrete or asphalt … and well, it’s easy to see how they can get much hotter than we can – fast. And since heatstroke can quickly lead to irreversible damage to major organs like the kidneys, liver, heart, brain – and can even cause death – it’s important to know the signs. How Do I Know If My Dog Has Heatstroke? Normally, a dog’s body temperature is somewhere between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, slightly higher than for humans. A dog will start to experience heatstroke at over 105 degrees. At around 106 to 108 degrees, organ damage can occur. Always keep a rectal thermometer handy...