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The forecast for the Pacific Northwest is looking HOT!! Seems like a good idea to focus today’s "Medical Monday" post on HEAT STROKE! Our friends at remind us that when you are walking your dog on a sunny day, it’s important to remember that dogs don’t sweat the way we do – they only have sweat glands in their nose and pads of their feet. The only way a dog can really cool their body is by panting, which sometimes isn’t enough. Keep in mind that a dog is covered in fur and their paws are in direct contact with hot concrete/asphalt – this increases their body temperature fast…so even though you may not think it’s that hot out, your dog could be overheating.

Breeds with "flat faces" such as Pugs and Boxers, elderly dogs, puppies and sick dogs are at an even greater risk of overheating. Act quickly when you suspect heat stroke, things can progress rather quickly.

A dogs normal body temperature is between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. A dog starts experiencing heat stroke at 105 or higher. At 106 to 108 degrees irreversible damage to the liver, kidneys, heart and brain can occur – it can even cause death. Heat stroke is serious and It’s important to know the signs so you can act fast.

Signs of heat stroke include:
-Excessive panting
-Excessive thirst
-Glazed eyes
-Increased salivation
-bright or dark red tongue or gums
-Dry gums that are pale or grayish
-Rapid or erratic pulse
-Rectal bleeding

If your dog shows signs of heat stroke, it’s important to act fast and lower his body temperature. If you do not lower your dogs temperature, your dog’s breathing will slow or stop. This can cause seizures, organ damage, coma or death.

Take the following actions to cool your dog:

Get him into the shade and away from direct sunlight.

Apply cool water from a hose or faucet on his inner thighs, stomach and pads of his feet to slowly cool him down. Do not submerge in water or use too cold of water, this can cool him too fast and cause other problems.

Air him out to let the water evaporate, keep him near a fan or air conditioner. Do not cover him or enclose him in a kennel.

Keep him moving to allow his cooled blood to circulate through his body.

Give him small amounts of cool water (not cold). Give him chicken or beef broth if he doesn’t want water. Avoid performance drinks.

Get him to the vet for an exam to make sure there was no damage. Effects of heat stroke can continue for 48 to 72 hours. The most common cause of death from heat stroke is from blood coagulating throughout the body which can occur hours or days after the heat stroke episode.
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