Every year, we see several dogs who die of heat stroke, and happily, we also see several dogs whom we are able to save. But why does this happen when everyone already knows about the dangers of heat stroke? And can this really happen in the Bay Area where we have natural air conditioning from the Ocean and the Bay?
Sometimes, it happens because the dog was playing on hot pavement. Sometimes it happens because the owner just did not think about it. Maybe it was cloudy but then the sun came out? Maybe the car was parked in the shade but the position of the sun changed? Maybe the dog was in a carrier in the car, making the air temperature even warmer? But it does happen. And here are some tips to help you avoid heat stroke.
What does heat stroke look like?
- Weakness, confusion, collapse.
- Dry gums, thick saliva
- Rapid panting if he or she is still conscious.
- Red gums and tongue that can change to a grey color.
- Try to put water on your pet, particularly on the abdomen and feet, where the fur is shorter. Use cool water if available.
- If your dog can swallow, offer cool water.
- Immediately take your dog to the nearest veterinarian. Rapid treatment is essential.
Dr. Salinger, VMD and Medical Director of San Bruno Pet Hospital