Dear Daisy Dog: My small mixed-breed dog, Eddie, had a close call with heatstroke – inside my apartment on a day that was warm but not hot. I partially opened the windows when I left for work, and when I got home, I was shocked to find Eddie lying on his side panting, his eyes glazed over.
I rushed him to the veterinarian who gave him emergency treatment for heatstroke. Please warn your readers about this danger.
Daisy Responds: Thank you for sharing your harrowing experience. Even when it’s only moderately warm outdoors, the interior of a home or car can quickly become an oven.
Heatstroke, an excessively high body temperature, can cause brain damage, kidney failure and, in half its canine victims, death.
We dogs are particularly susceptible because we can’t regulate our body temperatures very well, especially if we’re young, old, overweight, have breathing difficulties, or have heart disease or other medical problems. Signs of heatstroke include rapid breathing and heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea – and then collapse.
Treatment is aimed at lowering body temperature and preventing damage to the brain and other organs through intravenous fluids and medications. If Eddie ever has a repeat episode, spray him with a garden hose or immerse him in cool water – but not ice water – before you transport him to the animal hospital. Once he’s in the car, position him by the air conditioner vents.