Summer and Heat Strokes for dogs

Summer has arrived and it has made its presence felt from as early as January. As humans, summers sap the energy out of us and similarly it affects our furry friends as well. Heat storks, dehydration, ticks, lack of appetite, dullness and lethargy are some signs you must have started noticing in your pets. While taking care of our pets, we need to take consider the effects of increased day length and rising temperatures. Heat Strokes is one such major problem-

Heat Strokes
It is very important to regulate our dog’s body temperature. A dogs normal body temperature is between 101°F and 102°F . They regulate their body temperature by panting and they sweat through their paws. Since our four-legged friends can’t sweat they are much less efficient than we are at cooling down. In extreme heat situations, a dog’s body cannot expel heat fast enough and causes a rise in body temperature. In such a state, if immediate steps to cool down the dog are not taken, it starts affecting the dog’s brain, heart, liver and the intestinal tracts and the damage can be at an alarming level resulting in fatality.

Symptoms

* Rapid, frantic panting

* Sudden Collapse– Unconsciousness

* Inability to get up

* Widening of eyes

* Staggering

* Vomitting

* Bright red tongue with a slight purple/black tinge

How to deal with a Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke is an emergency situation and requires immediate vet attention. It is necessary to cool down the dog by trying to lower his body temperature. This is what you can do as immediate steps:
1. Immerse the dog in cool (not ice cold) water or place in front of a fan or AC environment

2. Place cold wet towels on his tummy, forehead, inner thighs & groin area

3. Keep wetting his tongue

4. Use ice packs on his forehead and give him ice cubes to lick on
If you notice slightly regularized breathing, stop the cooling process as the sudden drop in body temperature may have adverse effects. Rush the dog to the vet to do a thorough checkup as heat strokes can develop delayed complications, including fatality, if not properly monitored or cared for.

How to prevent a heat stroke

* Never leave your dog in the car with all windows rolled up (even if it means for 2 minutes and you have the AC on full blast). Leave the windows rolled down so that the wind can blow in, but make sure your car is not parked right under the sun. Also, while travelling with your dog in the car, even with the AC on, leave the window a little open for the fresh air to come in.

* Restrict play time and exercise activity to early mornings or late evenings. Do not play with your dog in the sun.

* If your dog stays outside most of the times, make sure he has ample shady place to sit in. Please bear in mind, that shade will move with the time of the day. Water should be made available to him preferable in 2-3 places which he is used to. If you chain them outside, make sure water bowl is close so that even if he entangles himself with the leash, he can still reach the water.

* Keep water in containers which your pet cannot upturn. If you have a Lab, chances that the water bowl is upturned the minute you keep it in front of him is very high. Add a few ice cubes to the water for the water to remain cooler for a longer duration.
* After bath times, do not tie him up in the sun so that he dries faster.
* Long haired dogs need a trim in the summer months. Do not shear off entirely, leave about an inch of hair length for insulation as their skin is not used to direct sun exposure.

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