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Dogs can suffer heat stroke

Friday - 7/6/2012, 11:27am  ET

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Veterinarian Lonni Neavear's dog Gloria is beating the heat indoors. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - With the record-breaking heat wave, how do you know when your pooch is in trouble in the heat?

As with people, dogs can suffer from heat stroke. Dr. Lonni Neavear, a veterinarian with Dumfries Animal Hospital in Prince William County, says watch for "your pet panting heavily with heavy saliva." Look for thick ropy saliva (like your dog is foaming from the mouth) and bright red gums.

"One of the first things you might see are nausea and vomiting. You might see some nosebleeds and your pet might seem disoriented," Neavear says.

Neavear says with hyperthermia, your dog's organs can begin to shut down, so you need to act quickly.

"To do that, you'll submerse them (your dog) in some tepid to cool water, never ice water, and get them to a veterinarian right away," she says.

With cold water, the blood vessels constrict and trap in the heat.

There are other signs a dog may be suffering from heat stroke.

"They don't want to move. They don't want to eat. They don't come when you call them," Neavear says.

Even though a heat stroke can happen to any dog, canines with shorter snouts, such as boxers, pugs and bulldogs, can be at a greater risk because they are already prone to breathing problems.

"They just have trouble moving air and get overheated quickly," says Neavear.

But cats seldom suffer heat stroke. It's believed that they are better at finding shade and don't exert themselves on super-hot days.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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