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Dog Facts

Can dogs get a heatstroke?

Dog overheatThe answer is yes. Dogs can suffer a heat stroke.
The temperature doesn’t have to be very high for a dog to suffer heatstroke. Working sled dogs in Alaska begin to suffer from the heat at 20 degrees because of their level of physical activity. Dogs are descended from wolves, animals who evolved in northern climes and, thus, have not developed natural mechanisms to fight the heat. As a result, they, like their wolf ancestors, don’t have very good heat-control mechanisms.
Breeds with flat faces, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, can suffer heatstroke even on mild days. Puppies also are more susceptible to heatstroke. More dogs die of heatstroke in cars than any other way. Even on a mild day, the temperature in a car in the sun can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Every year, thousands of dogs die of heatstroke after being left in cars for “just a minute.”
Never leave your dog in the car in the summer, even with the windows down.
And never leave your dog in a yard without shade in the summer.

What to do?

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from heatstroke, you must act quickly. A dog suffering from heatstroke pants heavily and salivates excessively. His eyes may be glazed and he staggers or acts listless. The dog’s pulse also feels rapid and weak.
Move the dog to a cool area indoors, or at least to the shade. Submerge him in cool water (not ice water) and apply cold compresses to his head. Take his temperature to monitor his body’s cooling. Keep him wet until his temperature reaches 103 degrees, and then remove him from the water and dry him off. Encourage but do not force him to drink water.
If the condition is difficult, get him to the veterinarian as soon as possible.