Heat Stroke in dogs is common especially in the summer and knowing how to deal with it may just help you save a life.
Brachycephalic dogs such as Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pekingese, Shih Tzus, and more are more prone to suffering from Heat Stroke. Thick-coated dogs such as Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and others are also at risk. Dogs are most likely to suffer from Heat Stroke during hot days. That’s why it is advisable to skip physically exhausting activities like hiking and walking with your dog during these times. However, some dogs still experience heat stroke even when they are inside their own homes. Many heat-related deaths in dogs happen after they were left inside hot cars or grooming drying cages.
Your German Shepherd – or any other dog – can suffer from Heat Stroke but the likeliness of any individual dog to catch it may depend on the following:
- Health Condition,
- Length of Coat,
- And the Weather/Climate.
Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs
Remember, the normal body temperature of dogs is 101-102 °F. When your German Shepherd’s temperature exceeds 104 °F, he or she may experience Heat Stroke. Here are the signs of heat stroke in dogs:
- Excessive panting,
- Sudden collapse,
- Bright red or dark tongue,
- Inability to move or stand up,
- Nose bleeding,
- And bloody Stool
How to Deal with Heat Stroke in Dogs
If it is very hot and you see the said signs present in your German Shepherd, then you must act fast and consider the situation an emergency. Pull your German Shepherd’s tongue out of his mouth – hopefully as far as possible – to open the airways, allowing your GS to breathe in cool air.
Then, give your panting German Shepherd cool water – not hot nor too cold. Giving your German Shepherd freezing water may constrict his blood vessels and this will make it even harder for his body to cool down. Never make your German Shepherd drink water or force water into his mouth if he is not conscious.
If possible, get a tub and fill it with cool water. Put your German Shepherd in the tub of water and hose him to lower his temperature. You may also get an ice cube and rub it on the tip of your German Shepherd’s tongue for 10 seconds, move the ice cube away from the tongue for 10 seconds, and repeat the process. If there is no available tub, just hose his body and keep it wet – especially the belly, armpit, and groin area. If your German Shepherd is really weak and is panting heavily, put ice packs under his neck, pits, and groin folds. Check your German Shepherd’s airways if it is swelling. If it is, you may administer Diphenhydramine orally to help the swelling subside.
If your German Shepherd’s condition does not improve despite those procedures, you may try a method called Cool Water Enema. This is a method in which cooling will be done from the inside by inserting a tube or nozzle into the anus and let water flow into it.
But, it is highly important to use water that is only a few degrees cooler than your German Shepherd’s body to avoid shock. Also, do not induce the water fast.