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by Suzie Cyrenne March 27, 2023 8 min read
With summer just right around the corner, knowing how to spot the signs of canine heat stroke and dealing with them properly is a must for every dog parent. Not doing so can easily lead to serious upshots or even fatal consequences.
In this blog post, I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about this health issue, particularly the indicators of heat stroke in dogs you need to keep an eye on as well as the preventive natural remedies you can go for.
During the summer season, many pet parents and animal lovers like yourself will gather together with your dog, enjoy picnics, visit the beach, go on walks, as well as other activities that you usually engage in when the weather is pleasant.
While the sunshine and exercise are good for your dog, being exposed to too much sun during the summer season is a whole new different story because it can already put him at risk of heat stroke.
And if we’re being honest, heat stroke is a health issue that could become fatal if not given immediate and proper care and attention.
As a homeopath and a dog parent myself, this is the reason why I put together this blog post on the heat stroke in dogs signs you should remember to provide your pet with the right first aid strategies before things get worse.
Let’s start our discussion by finding out what exactly dog heat stroke is…
Heat stroke in dogs is a serious condition where your dog’s body becomes so hot due to physical activity or exposure to high temperatures that it already affects his ability to cool down. It is also referred to as “dog sunstroke.”
Once your dog’s body temperature reaches 41°C or 105.8°F, the muscles and vital organs like the kidneys, liver, heart, brain and liver will eventually shut down and the effects could be fatal. This is why knowing the heat stroke in dogs signs you should look out for is crucial to keep this from happening, especially during the warmer months.
Now we’ve got that settled, let’s find out what the causes of heat stroke in dogs are…
The main cause of heat stroke in dogs is exposure to hot temperatures like being out in the sun for too long, as well as being confined in a place where there is little to no shade or ventilation.
See, unlike us humans, your dog does not have a lot of sweat glands to cool down when his body temperature rises. Instead of sweating, your pet cools down by panting. If you’ve ever observed your dog panting a lot, this means he’s looking to feel much cooler.
Next, let’s touch on the indicators of heat stroke in dogs you should take note of to ensure that your beloved pet won’t be going through this serious or even fatal health problem anytime soon…
The indicators that your pet may be suffering from heat stroke are as follows:
Always remember that your dog’s normal body temperature should only be between 101°F (38.3°C) to 102.5°F (39.2°C). Anything more than that is already a dog heat stroke red flag. The easiest way to get your dog’s temperature is by using an infrared or IR thermometer. It only has to be aimed at your dog’s body to get the job done.
Panting is your pet’s primary way of cooling because he doesn’t have a lot of sweat glands unlike us humans. If your dog’s panting is intense and constant, chances are his body is overheating at a fast pace.
This is because blood flow directed to your pet’s brain significantly slows down when dog heat stroke strikes. Besides being confused, your pet may also have difficulty keeping his balance due to this change in blood flow.
When your dog experiences heat stroke, his body tries to drastically cool down by redirecting blood flow to the skin. This causes his heart rate to suddenly shoot up triple or even quadruple compared to its normal rate.
A simple way to check your dog’s heart rate is by placing your hand on his rear inner mid-thigh, where you can feel a constant throbbing. This is where his femoral artery is located.
Every throb is equal to one (1) beat of his heart. Count the total number of beats within thirty (30) seconds and multiply the number by two (2). This will give you his heart beats per minute or BPM.
Take note that smaller dogs have a normal BPM between 90 to 160 and larger breeds have a BPM between 65 and 90.
This is why it is extremely crucial to constantly examine your dog’s gums every now and then, especially during the summer season. You can do so by simply lifting either his upper or lower lip to check if his gums are already taking on a more prominent shade of red.
When dog heat stroke strikes, it makes your pet’s body become severely dehydrated. Two of the most prominent indicators of severe dehydration are vomiting and cramping of the stomach muscles, which can lead to an unexpected—and rather explosive—bowel discharge.
Due to the lack of blood supply directed to the brain during dog heat stroke, your beloved pet could be prone to a seizure or even a coma when this health problem arises. This is also one of the reasons why dog heat stroke can be fatal if not immediately and properly dealt with.
Now let’s answer a question that you may be wondering about as I was going through the heat stroke in dogs signs you should look out for: can a dog survive a heat stroke?
The short answer is yes—provided that a dog exhibiting symptoms of heat stroke has been given immediate emergency medical attention.
If you notice two or more of the heat stroke in dogs signs that we’ve just touched on, it is crucial that you give your pet immediate and proper treatment or else he will fall into a comatose state and may possibly even die.
There are cases where emergency dog heat stroke treatment was given, but it was not quick enough. Although the affected animal survived, his vital organs are permanently damaged and will require lifelong therapy as well as medical assistance.
This is why knowing how to prevent heat stroke in dogs is crucial, especially during the summer months, which I’ll walk you through next…
Believe it or not, there are actually natural ways to hold back heat stroke in dogs. I’d just like to point out that the home remedies that I will share in just a bit are based on what we have found online from our research.
So without further ado, here are the preventive natural remedies you can use to keep heat stroke in dogs at bay…
The American Academy of Dermatology Association shares that aloe vera gel contains a number of enzymes, saponins, amino acids and minerals that can help keep the skin sufficiently hydrated during hot weather.
Additionally, aloe vera gel is also rich in antioxidants that may also support the skin during sunburn and inflammation. To use aloe vera gel to prevent heat stroke in dogs, harvest one or two aloe vera leaves and peel them.
Scrape off the aloe vera gel and apply it all over your dog’s body as a natural sunscreen, particularly the head, the back and the limbs, before heading out for a walk or a game of catch.
As reported by a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), coconut water is not just rich in glucose and potassium, but can also aid in the restoration of electrolytes that may have been depleted during physical exertion or exposure to warmer temperatures.
To use coconut water to fend off heat stroke in dogs, give your pet a few sips of this liquid before and after you go outside on a hot day. Just remember not to give your pet too much since coconut water can cause an upset stomach or even diarrhea in some dogs.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), fennel seeds contain high levels of natural phytochemicals that have been seen to help increase tolerance against chronic heat stress conditions.
Moreover, fennel seeds have also been deemed to have natural cooling properties. To use fennel seeds to prevent heat stroke in dogs, soak a couple of pinches of these seeds in a glass of water for at least ten minutes. Strain the liquid and give it to your dog before and after heading outside during warmer months.
A study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reveals that mint contains organic compounds that help improve nasal breathing, which can be really helpful for your dog when spending time outside during a hot day.
To use fresh mint to keep heat stroke in dogs at bay, steep a few leaves in a cup of warm water for a few minutes. Let the mixture cool down completely and give this mint tea to your dog to help boost his resilience against heat stroke in dogs.
As reported by the Daily Times UK, mango contains a rich amount of Vitamin A and Vitamin C that serve as natural barriers against heat stroke. To use mango to fend off heat stroke in dogs, feed your pet a small slice or two of this sweet fruit to make his body more resistant to drastic temperature changes.
Make sure to only give him the sweet pulp and none of the hairy fibers since these can irritate his throat.
According to Scientific and Academic Publishing, a vinegar compress is very effective in quickly reducing high body temperature by blocking substances called pyrogens that induce fevers.
To use this method for heat stroke in dogs prevention, simply soak a clean piece of cloth in vinegar, preferably white vinegar and apple cider vinegar, for a couple of minutes and wring it thoroughly. Place the vinegar compress on your dog’s head, back and belly to help bring his body temperature down after spending time outside playing in the yard or after a quick walk.
Now that we've got that covered, here are some useful and practical tips to help ensure that your dog won’t be at risk of heat stroke at any time, especially when summer is almost here…
Tip #1: If the weather suddenly becomes too hot and you and your dog are outside, avoid heat-reflecting surfaces like asphalt, concrete and sand. Make sure you seek shade immediately, too.
Tip #2: Never ever leave your canine family member inside your car even when the weather is fine. The internal temperature of your vehicle could become scorching in just a few minutes, which could lead to heat stroke in dogs before you know it.
Tip #3: Avoid taking your dog out for a walk or play if the weather is excessively warm.
Tip #4: Make sure your canine family member has easy access to water and shade inside your home at all times.
Heat stroke in dogs is not just the only health issue that your pet could be prone to in the coming summer months. In case you’d like to take charge of your dog’s health even more, make sure you check out our Online Homeopathic Consultation.
Zumalka’s Online Homeopathic Consultation is specific to your pet and helps get to the root of his problem instead of just treating the symptoms. It also works well for all types of conditions—especially for pets dealing with multiple, chronic or behavioral issues.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne is a certified Homeopath with over ten years of experience creating natural products for cats and dogs. She co-founded eCommerce brand, Zumalka in 2013 with her husband Matt and is on a mission to help thousands of animals naturally improve their quality of life and shares her experience on their popular YouTube show. Hence, she created a line of high-performance natural pet supplements to target the root cause of common health issues. Suzie was influenced by her mother-in-law, who practiced homeopathy and made natural remedies from home. After being on prescriptions for many years for a skin issue without resolution, she wanted to try something new. Her problems were cleared up within a few months of dedication to a better diet supplemented by homeopathic remedies. That's when she knew that homeopathy worked! During this process, she wondered why there weren't better options for pets and soon created a popular line of natural remedies that have helped thousands of pets across the USA. When she’s not traveling or reading the next personal development book, you can find Suzie snowboarding, working out, or enjoying a daily hike.
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