FIRST AID IN THE FIELD - Entry #4 (Heatstroke)

July 18, 2009

When it occurs: Dogs can fall victim to heatstroke for a number of reasons, including prolonged exposure to hot weather, activity in humid climates, being left in vehicles with rising temperatures and insufficient water consumption.

What experts say about prevention: To keep your dog from experiencing heatstroke, use good judgment and carry plenty of water. It is a good idea to carry just as much water for each of your dogs as you do for yourself. If in a heated environment or a situation such as one noted above, make sure your dogs drink water every 15 - 20 minutes. You can also use the water to cool your dogs down by pouring it over their heads and down their backs.

How serious is it? Heatstroke is a serious condition that can be fatal. It is estimated that two out of every twelve dogs that suffer from heatstroke will die.

How to treat the condition: If your dog is suffering from heatstroke, you'll notice it panting heavily. It may become wobbly while walking and unresponsive. Some dogs vomit and become unconscious. Before seeking medical treatment, first cool your dog down. Keep your dog in the shade and wet it down with water until its temperature reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

Give your dog frequent, small sips of water. A commonly recommended amount is one pint per 50 pounds of body weight in 30 minutes to avoid vomiting and vascular disease due to overhydration, withholding water only if your dog vomits.

If your dog has not recovered within an hour, take it to a veterinarian immediately. Check that its lips and gums look normal. Your dog has recovered when its temperature, respiration, gait and alertness have returned to normal.

* The above information courtesy of DogWorld Magazine - April, 2009

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