How to watch for heatstroke in your dog, ‘the risk is real’

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MANHATTAN (KSNT) – A Kansas State University veterinarian is warning dog owners that the high temperatures facing the country is a threat to your furry friends.

“Even if they have never had a problem with heat before, watch for signs of lagging behind, thick saliva and dark mucus membranes,” Veterinarian and clinical professor at the university’s Veterinary Health Center.  Susan Nelson said. These are all indications your dog might be starting to get heat stress.”

Nelson warns that the risk of dehydration and heatstroke is real, but there are things owners can do to keep your pets safe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when temperatures outside range from 80 to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172 degrees.

Nelson warns, never leave a pet in your car.

“Even with the windows cracked, we should never leave our pets in a vehicle unattended,” Nelson said. “For what might seem like a short trip into the bank, it can end up being fatal for our pets.”

Nelson suggested leaving your pet at home when running errands, and keep an eye on your animals for heatstroke.

The following are some of the symptoms Nelson said to watch for when trying to detect heatstroke in your dog:

• Body temperature above 103 degrees.
• Excessive or vigorous panting.
• Dark red, blue or purple gums.
• Thick saliva and excessive drooling.
• Dizziness or disorientation.
• Restlessness or appearing distressed.
• Rapid heart rate or irregular heartbeat.
• Vomiting or urinating blood, or traces of blood in bowel movements.
• Seizures and muscle tremors.
• Lying down and unwilling or unable to get up.
• Collapse or loss of consciousness where the animal cannot be awakened.

Pet owners should immediately start cooling their dogs down if they suspect heatstroke, but not with ice water. It is suggested owners wet their dog down and put them in front of a fan.

“When the air goes by, they dissipate the heat by breathing this way, but this also means it is easier for them to dehydrate more quickly when they’re panting a lot,” Nelson said.

If you notice your pet having medical problems contact a veterinarian immediately.

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