Knowing the signs of heat stroke is very important for dog owners in Dubai
5 July 2018| Last updated on 19 January 2020
Dubai’s temperatures can near 50 degrees Celsius in the summer months, which can be potentially fatal for your dog.
Combine the emirate’s increased temperatures with too much time outside for your pup, and you’re looking at potentially causing heat stroke for your dog.
And if heat stroke occurs in your dog, you’re looking at severe complications like sickness, organ dysfunction, and in the worst case scenario, death, if you don’t act quick enough.
Here in Dubai, sadly, dogs being left outside in a kennel, crate, or even abandoned on the street is not unheard of. And there have been previous cases where human error has cost a dog its life in Dubai.
That’s why, as dog owners living in Dubai, it’s SO important that you take the correct steps and cautions when allowing your dogs to exercise and play outside during Dubai’s summer months.
After all, careless mistakes or being unprepared could cost your pooch their life.
With our guide, get clued-up on the warning signs that a dog is overheated, how you can cool down an overheated dog and the signs and symptoms of heat stroke in dogs you should watch out for.
How do you know if your dog is having a heat stroke?
If you’re a new dog owner, perhaps you have not yet experienced canine heat stroke or discussed it with your vet or fellow dog owners.
As your dog’s ‘pawrent’ you know best your dog’s behaviour and will no doubt notice any changes in them. After all, our pooches can’t talk to us – and so it’s up to us as their protectors to understand what’s going on inside their bodies and the signs of changes, and act quickly when necessary.
The first questions on your mind then are possibly, what are some warning signs that a dog is overheated? How long does heat stroke in dogs last? Here, we aim to answer your questions to ensure you’re fully prepared.
Signs and symptoms of heat stroke in dogs
While your pup may not experience all of these at once, knowing all of them and how to diagnose them might potentially save your dog’s life. Our aim now is to answer your question, what does heat stroke in dogs look like? What are the signs of heat stress in dogs?
Early warning signs of heat exhaustion in dogs include the following:
- Excessive or loud panting
- Extreme thirst and dehydration
- Thick saliva, and excessive drooling (known as ptyalism)
- Increased body temperature; above 39 degrees Celsius
- A bright red tongue and pale gums
- Production of only small amounts of urine, or no urine
- Skin around muzzle or neck doesn’t snap back when pinched
- Frequent vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased difficulty breathing
- Gums that turn bright red, then blue or purple
- Weakness and/or fatigue
- Collapse or coma
The above are early warning signs of heat stroke in dogs. If a situation escalates however, here are the signs of worsening heat stroke to watch out for in your pup:
As well as the above, heat stroke in dogs can cause unseen problems; such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure, and abnormal clotting of the blood. Due to this, no matter what symptoms your dog is showing, it’s important you get them to a vet immediately.
How to spot heat stroke in dogs
One of the best ways to assess whether your dog’s internal temperature has increased, is to take his temperature rectally.
A dog’s temperature is normally between 38 and 39 degrees Celsius.
Thus a dog may overheat at any temperature above that range.
This is why most airlines will refuse to ship a dog in cargo hold if the arrival, layover or departure airport is above 29 degrees Celsius – especially for snub-nosed dogs, like Pugs and Bulldogs. In fact, in Dubai most, if not all, airlines refuse to ship certain breeds during summer completely.
How to take your dog’s temperature with a rectal thermometer:
- Obtain a digital rectal thermometer, preferably one made for pets
- Lubricate it with a lubricant such as petroleum or KY jelly
- Ask a helper to hold the dog by holding the head and front part of the body
- Locate their rectum, and lift their tail
- Carefully insert the thermometer into the rectum, to about one inch - do not let go of it
- Wait until the digital thermometer beeps, then carefully remove it and read the temperature
- Make a note of the temperature so you can communicate it to a vet if required
FAQs about heat stroke symptoms in dogs
- Can heat stroke cause seizures in dogs? Yes, dogs can experiencing seizures, with jerking, muscle twitching, loss of consciousness and chomping if they’re suffering from heat stroke. This can have devastating effects on their brain and internal organs.
- Can heat stroke cause diarrhoea in dogs? Yes, heat exhaustion symptoms can include diarrhoea.
- Can heat stroke cause blindness in dogs? Yes, as heat stroke in dogs has diverse effects on their brain function, blindness is a possible symptom.
- Can heat stroke cause paralysis in dogs? Stiffening of the muscles, jerking and collapsing may cause your dog to become unable to move during a heat stroke.
How do you cool down an overheated dog?
If you think your dog is experiencing heat stroke and showing signs of heat stress in dogs, you should take immediate action. Here’s how to apply first aid to a dog having a heat stroke.
Move them to a cool area, preferably inside with air conditioning. If this is not possible, move them to a shaded area with good ventilation.
Next, try to determine their condition.
If they’re standing, conscious and painting, offer them a small amount of water and take their temperature if possible. If their temperature isn’t too much higher than standard, remain with them in the cool environment, observing carefully.
Offer cool, wet towels to place between their armpits and back legs when laying down, and wipe their stomach and body with the wet towel to keep them cool. Don’t forget their head, paws and neck! Use a fan if one is available to help.
Be mindful of the cooler temperature – don’t use cold or freezing. This can have adverse effects.
If the dog is unable to stand on their own, is unresponsive, or is having a seizure – check their breathing and heartbeat. At the same time, have someone contact the emergency vet and let them know you’ll be bringing them in straight away.
By doing this, you allow the vet adequate time to prepare for yours and your dog-in-need’s arrival.
Whatever you do – don’t cover them with a cold blanket. While you think this may help, the lack of air circulation can actually cause the body to slow its cooling process.
Before heading to your vet, take their temperature again after the cooling process. If it’s at or below 38 degrees Celsius, stop your actions. Further cooling could cause blood clots, or a low body temperature.
Step 5: GO TO THE VET.
Even if your pup is showing signs of recovering already, you must take them to the vet ASAP to be checked.