Dogs, and also cats, are much more sensitive than humans to heat, and these summer days we must take extreme precautions, since a heat stroke can be fatal to our pet in a matter of minutes. Heat stroke is the common name of hyperthermia, a rise in body heat to such an extent that there is a risk of damage and malfunction of the organs. Its effects can be temporary or irreversible, depending on the breed of dog and the time it has been exposed to a high temperature.
Mammals have a mechanism that allows their body to regulate the temperature of deeper organs, but is not efficient enough in extreme cases, so if the internal temperature rises extremely it can lead to irreparably damage of some organs. The average body temperature of dogs is 39º. From here, when it goes up, a series of internal failures are unleashed, to the extent that their system is also losing control of the situation, which can lead to the death of the animal.
The control of body temperature
Dogs do not transpire, and only eliminate heat through three mechanisms: panting, sweating through the pads of their paws and isolated areas with little hair, like the belly.
“Heat stroke” usually occurs on a very hot day or on a day of moderate heat that has followed several consecutive hot days. The heat ends with the reserves of sugar and salts from the body of the dog.
The symptoms in your dog
They appear when the internal temperature exceeds 42º, the lack or considerable decay of forces, muscle tremors, bluish discoloration of the skin caused by the deficient oxygenation of the blood, the refusal to move, the very fast or very heavily breathing, the increase of the cardiac rhythm, the alteration of the color of the mucous membranes, alteration in the salivation or the wobble.
How to act when there is a heat stroke
We must act immediately, do not hesitate to take it to the veterinarian at the first symptoms. If this is not possible, we should try to lower the temperature from 42ºC. We can cool it down with a little water that is not too cold or freezing because it produces vasoconstriction and makes you lose less heat. We can also put on his head a plastic bag with crushed ice or give ice cubes so that when they are sucking they recover a little water. It is important to give them water regularly to prevent our pet from becoming dehydrated.
Even if the animal has lowered the temperature, it is still not out of danger because its internal organs may be damaged. Therefore, we must take the him to the veterinarian so that some blood tests tell us if their body is working properly.