The handsome man below is my Pepperman. We had a bad scare today. I came home to find my husband had let two dogs out, but only one back in. The Pepperman, who is almost 16 years old, was collapsed and panting profusely on the patio. He had found the shade, thankfully. I grabbed him, brought him inside, and immediately started treating for heat stroke. I first took his temperature well after I had started the process, and it was 105.7. I don’t want to think about how high it was when he was lying out there!
That made me realize – thank God I’m a vet and was able to treat him immediately. He has recovered, and is now napping. He’s a little mad that his bed got soaked in the process (my living room had a river running through it!) but he’ll forgive me.
So, what do you do if you find your dog in this situation?
You need to get your dog to a vet ASAP. BUT, there is a lot you can do along the way to help your dog survive with minimal damage. The sooner cooling starts, the better off the dog is.
First cover them with cool water – soak them! If they are not conscious, be cautious around the face, mouth, and nose. Do not place ice packs on them, as those will cause the blood vessels to constrict, and we want them open and releasing heat! Place the pet in front of a fan, or air conditioning vents (cool, not cold) while in the car. Do not wrap them in wet towels, but let their skin be as exposed as possible to allow for cooling.
If your pets seems improved, take his or her temperature rectally. If it is down to 103, you can stop the cooling and start drying them off. Some animals actually become overcooled, which is not good either!