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Colpo di calore nei cani: cause, sintomi e come evitarlo

Heat stroke in dogs: causes, symptoms and how to avoid it

Heatstroke in dogs is very serious and can be fatal. In this article we will know what heatstroke is and what are the causes and symptoms that you should pay attention to and thus be prepared in the warmer months.

Dogs regulate their body heat primarily by panting. They cannot regulate their body temperature through sweat, as they only produce sweat in areas not covered by fur, such as the pads of their feet and the nose. Panting allows the blood to cool as cold air passes through the blood vessels in the mouth. However, if the surrounding air temperature is too high, this method will not be effective, and if the dog's body temperature exceeds 42°C, heatstroke can lead to death.

Causes of Sunstroke or Heat Stroke in a Dog

Overheating during exercise

The duration and intensity of exercise for pets should always be increased gradually. However, during the warmer months it is essential to pay close attention to your dog for any signs of heat stroke, as well as providing plenty of water and rest periods during exercise.

Long periods outdoors in hot weather

During hot days, if your dog spends too much time outdoors, he will overheat, as he is, after all, covered in fur. Dogs should generally never be left outside for long periods without access to cool, shaded areas or drinking water.

Leave it inside the car or other enclosed space

As you already know, we should never leave our dogs in the car for long periods of time. Even on days that don't seem particularly hot, as a dog's normal body temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and in as little as 15 minutes a dog can die from the heat in such a space. In many countries it is a crime to leave a dog locked in the car, and no wonder! If you find a dog trapped in a car, try to help it by trying to locate the owner or the police.

Symptoms of heat stroke

The first signs of heatstroke may be subtle, but it's important to know the warning signs to look out for:

  • Panting faster or more intensely
  • Excessive smudging
  • Increased heart rate
  • Bright red gums (dry to the touch)
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Difficult breathing
  • Weakness or fainting

First aid in case of heat stroke

If a dog shows signs of heat stroke, it is important to act quickly by following these steps:

  • Try to calm him down and take him to a cool area.
  • Give him cold, but not ice-cold water.
  • Contact your veterinarian.
  • Place wet towels on your stomach, armpits, and pads.
  • Cool his head, ears, paws and fur with cold water and a bucket or sponge. Careful! Do not immerse your head in water to avoid aspiration pneumonia.
  • Never give anti-inflammatory medications to a dog with heatstroke.

If your dog suffers from mild heatstroke, he will likely recover fully with the above steps. However, if your condition is severe or treatment is delayed, you may suffer organ damage or even die. Contact your vet as soon as you notice symptoms of heatstroke. The earlier treatment is started, the better the prognosis.

Which dogs are particularly at risk for heat stroke?

Some dogs are particularly susceptible to heat stroke, such as brachycephalic dogs (due to their narrowed airways), puppies, overweight dogs and those with thick fur, heart disease or respiratory problems.

How to prevent heat stroke?

Even during the hottest months, it is important that you maintain your exercise routine, both for physical well-being and for mental well-being and happiness.

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