shutterstock 760656811Did you know that your dog could get heatstroke no matter the time of year? 

Everyone associates canine heatstroke with the season of summer - after all, we are world-renowned for our hot Australian days on the beach. And this is certainly a common time for dogs to suffer from heatstroke. But what about during winter? 
 
Here’s an example scenario: 
 
Jennifer has a cross breed named Bailey. While Jennifer is at work during the day, Bailey stays in the living room, with the doors shut to prevent him from escaping. The weather is very cold, and so Jennifer decides to leave the heater on to keep Bailey comfortable while she is out. What she hasn’t considered, however, is that with the doors shut the heat builds very quickly in the living room. 
 
Bailey attempts to cool down by drinking water, but soon this is all gone. He then tries to find a cool place to rest, but with the doors shut his options are limited.
 
By the time Jennifer gets home, the room is as warm as an Australian summer day, and Bailey is suffering from heatstroke.
 
Unfortunately, dogs do not have the same cooling systems as we do (such as sweat) and they can easily become overheated. Before looking at how to treat heatstroke, it’s important to know how to prevent it, and understand what the causes and symptoms of canine heatstroke are.
 
Keeping your furry friend cool
 
Owning a pet is one of life’s biggest joys but, just like having a child, it’s also a huge responsibility. Loving them is more than just giving pats and cuddles – it’s about keeping them safe at all costs. 
 
Firstly, what is heatstroke?
 
Heatstroke is a state of hyperthermia (elevated core body temperature above the normal range) resulting in heat injury to tissues. Heatstroke occurs when heat generation exceeds the body’s ability to lose heat.1.
 
It’s important to understand the main causes of heatstroke. These include:
 
● Warm/hot, humid environment with inadequate ventilation (such as a unventilated room or car)
 
● Inadequate shade (during the warmer months)
 
● Not enough drinking water
 
● Excessive exercise
 
Dog looking out window web
 
The good news? You can easily help prevent heatstroke by creating the right environmental conditions, and fully understanding the symptoms. So to help your best friend stay cool all year round, make sure the space they spend most of their time in is ventilated and they have plenty of drinking water. 
 
For outdoor pets, make sure they always have access to shade – no matter what time of day it is. Don’t ever leave your pet in a car, avoid over-exercising them in hot weather, and try to let them cool down before entering a warm environment after exercise (such as, if after a walk during winter you then head straight into a heated room). 
 
Symptoms of heatstroke  
 
So what does heatstroke look like? As hard as we try to keep our pets safe, sometimes the heat can be overbearing. Here are some symptoms you need to look out for, according to RSPCA Australia:
 
● Excessive panting and breathing difficulties
 
● Drooling and salivating
 
● Agitation and restlessness
 
● Very red or pale gums
 
● Increased heart rate
 
● Vomiting and diarrhoea
 
● Confusion and delirium
 
● Lethargy
 
● Seizures and collapsing
 
● Coma
 
If you suspect heatstroke in your pet, immediately get them to a cool environment, spray cool water (not iced) on their skin and fur, and take them to a vet immediately. Don’t forget – heatstroke is an emergency and should never be ignored.
 
Breeds most at risk of heatstroke
 
Your pet’s lifestyle is just as important as yours, and it’s important to consider the environment you live in and how active you expect them to be.The fact is, certain breeds of cats and dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke than others, simply due to how effective their body is to regulating heat.
 
When it comes to dogs, the breeds that are most vulnerable are those with short noses, broad skulls, and structural issues with their upper respiratory system. These include:
 
● Pugs
 
● Boxers
 
● Akitas
 
● Bulldogs
 
● Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
 
These breeds are even more at risk if they’re very old, very young, sick or obese, have medical conditions, or are pregnant and nursing.
 
Safety first
 
Just remember, our dogs rely on us to keep them safe and comfortable. Heatstroke is one of several easily preventable problems facing our canine friends throughout the year. So get up to speed on the causes of heatstroke, how to prevent it, what to look out for, and what to do if your dog is in trouble.  
 
 
Author Bio – Shayen De Silva
Shayen is a deep thinker, an avid lover of animals and sucks at Goldeneye. Since he’s been able to put crayon to paper, there’s nothing Shayen has loved more than telling a good story. He enjoys inspiring readers on healthy living, self-improvement and making a difference.
 
References:1. RSPCA Pet Insurance