Heatstroke in dogs

Heatstroke in dogs

Don’t be a victim of heatstroke in dogs.  Know the symptoms and how is it treated. Heatstroke is very dangerous, especially for small dogs like Morkies. Heatstroke in dogs and in people, occurs when it’s so hot out, the body can no longer cool itself. As it gets hotter and hotter, internal organs are damaged and start to fail. Kidneys can suddenly give out. Severe enough, and your little dog will die.

Hyperthermia, or high body temperature, can happen to dogs more easily than us, because they can’t sweat to cool down like we can. Instead, dogs eliminate heat by panting. (Some sweat glands in the dog’s footpads can help with heat dissipation, but only minimally.) When panting isn’t enough, their body temperature rises.

Signs of heatstroke in dogs

At first, a dog with heatstroke seems very anxious, won’t settle down and pants a lot. Sometimes he might drool or vomit. As he gets hotter, you may see lethargy, muscle weakness, inability to stand and seizures.

Take your dog’s temperature*

To find out if your Morkie has heatstroke, take his temperature. If it is above 104 degrees (40 C), then he has heatstroke and the situation is serious.

Download this handy temperature guide, in Celsius and Fahrenheit 


First aid for heatstroke

Don’t overdo the cooling though… never wet down your dog and then put him in front of a fan or air conditioner, for example.

Offer him water but never force it down his throat.

It’s suggested that you rub the dog’s legs vigorously, to encourage circulation and reduce the risk of shock.

tri colour morkie in sunglasses

Always get medical help ASAP to ensure that the internal damage has been stopped. Unseen damage can continue even though your dog’s temperature is down. Swelling of the brain, and abnormal blood clotting are just two examples.

How to Avoid Heatstroke

  • Always have plenty of fresh water available
  • Avoid exercise during the hottest parts of the day
  • Keep your Morkie at a healthy weight

I hope it goes without saying, never ever leave your dog in a car, even in the shade. Cars really are like ovens: when it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius) outside, in a car it can reach an unbearable 117 degrees F (47 C) degrees within the hour.

Be especially careful of very young or older dogs. They’re more susceptible. Don’t forget – It’s that time again – dogs in hot cars

Heatstroke can cause unseen problems, such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure, and abnormal clotting of blood. On the way to the veterinarian, travel with the windows open and the air conditioner on.

Should my Morkie have short hair in summer?

Not necessarily. Since Morkies have hair, not fur, there’s no heavy undercoat to make them super hot. And the hair protects your Morkie’s skin from sunburn and insect bites.

*How to take your dog’s temperature

Ideally you already have a digital thermometer meant for dogs. It’s used rectally, after you’ve applied a thin layer of Vaseline. In a pinch, you can use a regular baby thermometer.

Download this handy temperature guide


Prevent heat stroke

Prevent heat stroke

hot oven hot car same thing

It’s warming up again — time to think about your Morkie and potential heat stroke.

Dogs can’t sweat like us – they dissipate a little bit of heat through the pads on their feet (hence “Frito Feet” – stinky dog paws).  And they pant, which doesn’t even work that well to cool them off.  Those are the only 2 ways they have to naturally cool down.

One small mistake – like leaving your small dog in the car “for just a minute” can spell heat stroke and even death.

Signs of heatstroke

  1. Your Morkie is panting a LOT – far more than usual.
  2. A bright red tongue.
  3. Thick, sticky salvia.
  4. Depression, confusion, unsteady on legs.
  5. Vomiting and diarrhea.

If your Morkie has any of these symptoms, please – act quickly!

  • You need to lower his body temperature, carefully, so run a cool (not cold) bath or sink of water and ease your dog into it.
  • Be sure the head and neck get cooling water.
  • Give your Morkie plenty of cold water.  A little salt in it will help restore his natural balance of minerals.
  • Use a small package of frozen veggies as an ice pack for his head and neck area.
  • Don’t force any water into your dog’s mouth, and take care he doesn’t choke in the tub or sink.

An ounce of prevention

Never leave your dog in the car in mild or warm weather. And certainly not in hot weather!

Don’t think parking in the shade helps – your car’s interior is like an oven.  That’s why this ad was created last year. In fact, ‘temperatures can climb from 78 degrees to 100 degrees in just three minutes, to 125 degrees in 6-8 minutes’ according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If your Morkie is outside, be sure he has plenty of shade and water.hot-dog-in-car

If you’re travelling with your dog in the car and it’s warm, keep him secured in an open, wire-cage type of container, not a closed-in dog carrier.

Dogs don’t always know when to take it easy, so if it’s hot out, restrict his running around outside.

Avoid sand, concrete and asphalt – it can get volcanic-hot on tiny paws.

Finally, don’t hesitate to call the Vet if you think your Morkie has become over-heated.  There are some serious, long lasting effects of heat stroke that only a medical professional can diagnose.

yorkie sunglassesIn the meantime – keep cool!

Please note: this article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

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