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3000 Roane State Hwy Harriman, TN 37748

Heat Stroke is No Joke: Prevent Overheating

The hot summer months are slowly fading away, but sadly, many pets will still fall victim to heat-related deaths by exposure to extremely dangerous temperatures.

According to The Weather Channel, on a 90 degree day it takes only 10 minutes for the interior of your car to elevate to 109 degrees. Even with the windows partially open, temperatures are still deadly.  In many cases, a dog is left unattended in a vehicle, and with temperatures rising minute-by-minute death is imminent.

Unlike humans, dogs can only cool their bodies by panting, breathing through their nose, and through sweat glands located in the pads of their feet.  Unfortunately, these mechanisms are not sufficient for our four-legged friends to regulate their body temperature with warmer temperatures let alone in extreme conditions.

Overheating in dogs can cause damage to the brain, liver, heart and nervous system in just minutes. When a dog’s temperature reaches 108 degrees or higher, heatstroke is diagnosed.  When heatstroke occurs, the cells within in the body die at rapid speed. The brain begins to swell which can result in seizures or death.

Some common symptoms of overheated dogs include:

  • Excessive panting
  • High fever
  • Elevated heart rate and pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Staggering
  • Seizures
  • Uncontrollable urination or defecation
  • Unconsciousness

Keep in mind that heat stroke can occur for various reasons. Some dogs are at higher risk for heat-related conditions than others, due to their age, breed (such as pugs with flatter faces), or preexisting diseases.

Tips to Prevent Overheating

  • Always provide fresh clean drinking water. If your dog resides outside for any length of time, be sure your pet has access to a fully-shaded area.
  • Avoid excessive exercise on hot and humid days. A hair-cut can allow for your pet to be more comfortable during the summer.
  • Never leave your pet in the car unattended during hot or cold weather. In some states leaving an animal alone in a vehicle is a criminal offense.
  • If you suspect your pet is experiencing heatstroke, please call us immediately at 865-882-6327.

Veterinary Topics