Heat stroke is (unfortunately) a common problem during the hot summer months, especially when temperatures soar into the 100's. Two of the most important things you can do to protect your dog from the heat are to make sure your dog has lots of shade and plenty of water. It is easy to forget how fast water can evaporate in extreme heat, so make sure you re-fill the water dishes often.
Outdoor dogs with thick coats of fur, even if it is relatively short, should be shaved. The thick fur is just like you wearing your winter coat out in the heat! Another great idea is to add water misters to their pen to act as an air conditioner. And lastly, do not leave your dog in a vehicle, even if the windows are cracked!
Symptoms of heat stroke include: Excessive panting; recumbency (lying on side); pale mucous membranes (gums and inside of cheeks); and unresponsiveness.
Emergency treatments: It imperative to get the dog's temperature down as quickly as possible. Heat stroke dog temperatures can rise above 105 degrees. The best thing you can do is get your dog to a veterinarian, so he can be started on IV fluids and the vet can work on lowering the dog's temperature. However, if you are unable to get to a vet clinic, there are some treatments you can try. First of all, you don't want to lower the temperature too quickly. One of the best ways to lower a dog’s temperatures is to pour rubbing alcohol along his spine. Rubbing alcohol evaporates more quickly than water, thus acting as a coolant. Also, a room temperature water enema works well. You don't want to use cold water as the dog's temperature is already well above room temperature and cold water would be too much of a shock to the dog's system.
Even with proper treatment, a heat stroke victim's chances of survival are minimal. So, the best treatment is prevention. Please be aware of our four-legged friends during the warm summer months and do what you can to keep them safe and comfortable.