Excessive panting and signs of discomfort indicate overheating. However, it is important to be aware of the ambient temperature and take appropriate preventative measures.
2. Primary Cause
Any hot environment can cause heatstroke, but the most common cause is careless actions such as leaving a dog in a car on a hot day or forgetting to provide shade to an animal kept outdoors.
3. Immediate Care
It is essential to remove the dog from the hot environment immediately. If it is unconscious, make sure no water enters the nose or mouth as you follow these guidelines. Also, do not give the dog aspirin to lower its temperature; this can lead to other problems.
- Put your dog in the bath tub.
- Run a cool (not cold) shower over your pet, covering the whole body -- especially the back of the head and neck.
- Allow the water to fill up the bathtub as you shower the dog. Keep the head elevated to prevent aspiration pneumonia.
- If getting the dog into the tub is impractical, use a garden hose to cool the dog or place him in a pool of cool water.
- Apply a cold pack to the dog’s head to help lower his body temperature -- a packet of frozen vegetables works fine.
- Massage the legs. A vigorous rubbing helps the dog’s circulation and reduces the risks of shock.
- Let the dog drink as much cool or cold water as it wants. Adding a pinch of salt to the water bowl will help the dog replace the minerals it lost through panting.
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