These Signs Of Heatstroke In Dogs Mean It's An Emergency

Make sure you're prepared!

If your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, head to the nearest vet or animal emergency room immediately.

Are you concerned your dog is suffering from heatstroke? Or do you just want to be aware of the signs during the summer?

Since dogs aren’t as good as humans at cooling down (they don’t sweat like we do), they can get overheated way faster than a person would.

It’s important to not only watch your dog for signs of distress in warmer weather, but also know how to prevent your dog from overheating to begin with.

According to Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a veterinarian at Animal Medical Center in New York City, signs of heatstroke in dogs are sudden and catastrophic — so it’s important to know what to look for before it actually happens.

The most common signs of heatstroke in dogs, according to Dr. Hohenhaus:

  • Panting, collapse and seizures

“You can tell if your dog lies on its side and it’s panting and panting, and its gums and tongue are redder than usual,” Dr. Hohenhaus told The Dodo.

Other signs of heatstroke in dogs are:

  • Hot skin
  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Distress collapse
  • Incoordination
  • Loss of consciousness

“If your pet is developing heatstroke, you will notice nonstop panting; hot, red skin; and weakness,” Dr. Hohenhaus said. “This may progress to incoordination, collapse and loss of consciousness.”

What to do if you suspect heatstroke in your dog

"If you suspect heatstroke, go immediately to the closest animal ER — do not delay,” Dr. Hohenhaus said.

According to Dr. Hohenhaus, trying to cool your pet off on your own once she’s reached the point of heatstroke wastes valuable time. “But, if on your way out the door you can grab ice packs or frozen food from your freezer, put the frozen food on your pet in the car on the way to the ER,” Dr. Hohenhaus recommended.

How to prevent heatstroke in your dog

To help make sure your dog stays cool and doesn’t ever have to face the nightmare of heatstroke, Dr. Hohenhaus suggests these preventative measures:

1. Don’t exercise your dog during the hottest parts of the day

Dr. Hohenhaus recommends only exercising your pup early or late in the day to ensure that it’s the safest temperature out. “Heatstroke occurs most often in the afternoon,” Dr. Hohenhaus said.

2. Don’t leave your dog in a hot car

Even with the windows cracked, NEVER leave your dog in a car, as it can become fatal in a matter of minutes. “In one study, a hot car was the number one cause of heatstroke,” Dr. Hohenhaus said.

3. Provide access to cold water

Consider choosing a water bowl designed to keep water cool, or add ice cubes to the bowl.

Like this Freezable Dog Bowl from Amazon for $20

4. Provide your dog with plenty of shade

Dr. Hohenhaus suggests using either an umbrella or another covered kennel or cot outside to make sure your dog has access to shade whenever she feels too hot.

Like this Floppy Dawg bed from Amazon for $55

5. Try out a cooling jacket or mat

You can also try out a cooling vest or mat.

Like this Dog Cooling Vest from Amazon for $23

Or this Arf Dog Self Cooling Mat from PetCo for $60

By making sure your dog has plenty of ways to cool off, coupled with her own body's abilities, she should be perfectly safe all summer long.

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