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Signs of overheating in dogs

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Dogs love a good Frisbee throw at the park picnic, a fast game of fetch in the backyard, or a romp on the beach. They seem happy, dashing around with tongue lolling and slobber dripping and many dog owners figure the dog will know when to stop. But that’s not the case. Dogs are so excitable and so playful. They just keep on going and often don’t feel the effects of overheating until it’s too late. Dog owners must take responsibility and know when enough is enough. Allow the dog to rest in a cool area and offer plenty of cool water.

Dogs also love to go along on car rides but should never be left inside a parked car. Even in weather that seems cool, a vehicle can quickly become a deadly ‘green house.’

How Panting Cools a Dog

Dogs, because they do not sweat, are actually at higher risk of heat stroke than humans, who perspire over most of the body. Dogs cool themselves through panting, which quickly passes air through the moist tissues of the dog’s mouth and cools it, much like a breeze on a sweaty face cools a human. This is a form of evaporative cooling and that’s where most of the slobber comes from in a panting dog. Profuse panting is also a factor in dehydration.

A dog’s normal breathing uses most of the lung capacity and is approximately 35 breaths per minute. If the dog begins to get too hot, the breathing increases to panting, using mostly the nose and mouth to quickly pass air through for cooling. When the dog’s body heat climbs faster than the panting system’s ability to cool itself, heat stroke becomes a threat.

Why is Heat Stroke Dangerous?

A dog’s normal body temperature is about 101 F to 102 F. When the temperature climbs to 106, the dog’s body begins to dehydrate and the blood thickens, putting strain on the heart and decreasing circulation to vital organs and tissues. Organ failure and death can occur quickly if measures are not taken immediately to bring the temperature down. Even in dogs that recover, sometimes organ damage is irreversible, causing lifelong health problems. Dogs who have overheated once are more susceptible to overheating again.

Signs of Overheating in Dogs

Dog owners need to know the signs of overheating in dogs so that cooling measures can be taken quickly. Symptoms to watch for include:

* Profuse and rapid panting

* Bright red tongue

* Thick drooling saliva

* Wide eyes with a glassy look

* Lack of coordination

* Vomiting

* Diarrhea

* Coma

How to Cool an Overheated Dog

Working quickly to get the temperature down is imperative. Any of the following measures can help to cool the dog.

* Place the dog in cool, but not cold, water

* Take the dog to air conditioning

* Sponge his head, tummy and area between the legs with cool water

* Wet his tongue

* Turn a fan on him

* Offer small amounts of cool water to drink every few minutes if he is conscious

Care must be taken not to cool the dog too much. In some cases, the temperature can drop too quickly. Once the temperature has reached 104 F or 103 F, cooling efforts should be stopped.

Dogs who have overheated should be seen by a veterinarian to determine if they need further treatment.

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Diez was getting warm yesterday, so we took him for a walk (to get US humans food-lol) then we came back thru the park, Diesel decided we were going his way not ours and took us to the river.. one wet dog and a smelly journey home..

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I noticed that my pup would breath rapidly when she was smaller but as she was sleeping... She doesn't really do that anymore but I was just wondering why she would breath so heavily. The temp was actually pretty chilly around that time...so she couldn't have been too warm. :P Hmm...

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