Have you ever thought about leaving your pet in the car while you just run into the store for a quick second? In just ten minutes a cars internal temperature can reach a scorching 104 degrees. And after twenty minutes it can be up to 114 degrees. Now think about that quick trip into the store, are you still sure it will take under ten minutes? If not there can be severe consequences to your loved one.
Exposure to excessive external temperatures will cause a rise in the core body temp of a pet. Dogs are not as efficient at releasing heat as we are and as such can become over heated quickly. This can be worse in brachycephalic breeds (shorter snout) such as; pugs, bulldogs, and Boston terriers that naturally have difficulty panting as well as overweight pets. Once the internal temperature is above 104 degrees this becomes an emergency that if not treated can become life threatening. Some early signs to look for would be excessive panting, excessive thirst, thickened saliva, and bright red tongue with pale gums. Some later symptoms can be collapse, disorientation, seizures, vomiting, or diarrhea.
On the way to your veterinarian you can do some simple things to help your loved ones outcome and start decreasing their temp right away. First remove them from the heat and then start with cool wet rags and water pads. Never use ice on an overheated pet as it will constrict the blood vessels on the skins surface decreasing their ability to dissipate heat and cause the internal temp to continue to rise. If you have rubbing alcohol available you can place some on the paw pads. Once at your veterinarians they will place your pet on intravenous fluids, check his blood count, and continue to slowly cool them.
The key to a positive outcome is the speed at which you start the cooling process and getting the pet to your vet as soon as possible. So as the summer is approaching make sure your pets have plenty of free water and try to keep them out of direct sunlight especially in the heat of the day to avoid heat exhaustion/stroke.