Heat stroke is a very serious, sometimes lethal condition that affects all of us, animals and humans alike. While some animals enjoy specialized defensive mechanism to protect themselves from the effect of sun exposure and heat, it is fair to say that for the rest of us, heat stroke is an equal opportunity offender.
Prolonged exposure to, or physical exertion in, high temperatures can cause our bodies to overheat with body temperatures rising to 104 F (40 C) or even more. Untreated, this rise in temperature can kill. The good news is that heat strokes are entirely preventable.
How can we know when we suffer from heat stroke?
In humans, heat stroke symptoms manifest themselves by a lack of sweating, despite the ambient heat, by the appearance of red, hot and or dry skin, by muscle weakness, by vomiting and nausea. The symptoms of heat stroke in dogs are slightly different and as such, are manifested by loud and or excessive panting, frequent vomiting, thick saliva, increased heartache, discoloration of the tongue and the loss of elasticity in the skin around the dog’s nose.
What to do when you or your dog suffer from the effects of a heat stroke?
- If you are able to go to a cooler area, ventilated and or with air conditioning, the first step is to immediately move away from direct sunlight and into that cooler area. If such a place isn’t in your immediate vicinity, make every effort to move into a shaded area and stay there so that your body temperature may gradually get back to normal.
- In case you are near a body of water, such as a lake or a pool, take a dip to let the water cool your down.
- If there is no lake nearby, wet any item of clothing you have and place on your dog neck, armpits and in between his hind legs.
- Drink, if you can. It may be that all you and your dog can do right at that moment is to wet the tongue with water and wait before you are able to Don’t force yourself and your dog to drink. Don’t use ice cubes since these might cause the temperature to drop too quickly.
- Go see a vet. Heat stroke is a serious condition.
- Make sure you and your do have plenty of water
- Do not go into an area in which there are no facilities to cool yourself and your dog down. That trek through the Arizona desert may sound oh so exciting when looking at the map in the comfort of your living room, but it could turn into a living hell if you go there unprepared.
- At the end of a fun day spent in the sun, don’t hesitate to let your dog run and play in an area where the sprinklers are on.
- Never leave your dog inside your car, even if the windows or the car are rolled down and you think your dog, being in the shade will be protected from the heat. It is important to remember that the temperature inside a parked car can reach 120 degrees in mere minutes.
- If you and your dog love those long walks, make sure you enjoy them when it’s cooler, early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the temperatures are more clement.
Related article: Saving Pets During Disasters
Like most things, when it comes to safety, it is important to use common sense. If you think whatever you’re planning to do is going to be tough on you, it will be equally tough on your dog. Do not place either of you in a position where a lack of planning or carelessness can put you both in anger. On hot and humid days, keep your exercises in proximity to your house so that you may go back indoors quickly and easily.
Exercising should be fun and safe. A modicum of precaution will go a long way in ensuring that neither you nor your dog will ever be subject to heat stroke.
Be that as it may, it is important to note that leaving our pets unattended in a parked car, on a hot day is one of the primary causes of heatstroke. If you ever happen to notice a pet in such a situation, please do not hesitate to alert a store employer or a mall security agent, or even the police. Do note that leaving a dog alone in a car, in extreme temperatures is actually a criminal offense in some states, cities and towns. Existing laws do provide certain individuals including the police, firefighters, animal control offices and even store employees to take any action deemed necessary to protect an animal that has been left unattended in extreme weather conditions.
In the US, hundreds of dogs die each year from the effect of heat stroke. This is a real tragedy considering how preventable these deaths can be.
This article was written by Kathie Lukas for Prepper’s Will.
ABOUT Kathie Lukas
Kathie Lukas is a freelance writer. She’s a passionate pet lover her topic areas mostly cover pet health and pet grooming and loves to travel and has a never-ending love for food. She has completed her graduation in animal sciences from the Kansas State University. You can find her on twitter @iamkathilukas.