jueves, 8 de diciembre de 2005

Heat Stress in French Bulldog

Heat stress usually occurs on a very hot day, or on a moderately hot day following several consecutive hot days. Heat gradually removes the body's reserves of sugar and salts, so that the longer a hot period lasts the sooner the heat stress can occur, and little extra heat is needed to set the heat stress off.

Black dogs absorb more heat than lighter dogs as they do not reflect the light, but absorb it, so are more prone to heat stress. Dogs that exercise heavily in hot weather are particularly at risk. It may occur if a dog is in an area with restricted air circulation such as a closed car, crate, tent or trailer.

The dog's main ways of losing heat are:

*Respiration through panting.

*Sweating, through pads only, dogs do not sweat as humans do.

*Heat loss, through areas of minimal hair, ie belly, anus.


The dog suffering heat loss is usually sluggish and reluctant to move. Respiration is very rapid and the mucous membranes (gums,conjunctiva) are blueish. The breathing is extremely laboured, there is usually litle salivation and ther dog may stagger, vomit or collapse. If the dog is not treated at this stage it will die.


The first priority is to cool the dog fairly rapidly. The most important area to cool is the head and neck. The blood going to the brain must be cooled to prevent brain damage and to calm the respiration. Turn a tap full on to wet the dog thoroughly and keep the water running over him starting on the head and neck. If you have ice, place some on the bridge of the nose, very important with short nosed dogs, and on the sides of the neck.

Keep the water flowing over the dog until respiration settles down. You can wet the dog's mouth, but don't expect him to drink too much as he may be incapable of swallowing, too much water can choke him.When he starts to breathe in a less laboured manner, turn off the tap and sponge him down with wet towels.

Too rapid a drop can cause brain damage.As the respiration returns to normal, leave the dog sitting on a wet towel and give him a little water. Take the temperature once the respiration rate is reduced and keep cooling him until his temperature is between 39.5 and 39 degreesC.

* Do not wrap him up

*Do not place a towel over him as it will not allow the heat to escape

*Remember: heat rises.

Prevention of Heat Stress

Prevention is of course better than cure.

1. Always ensure that your dogs have adequate shade and water. If he has to be left in a confined area ensure that: * Ventilation is more than adequate

* Shade is available

* Water is always available

2. Puppies and older dogs are specially susceptible. If your dog is in either category you should always leave a wet towel or newspaper in their living area.

If you freeze a large dish of water it can be left to gradually melt during the day. Leave a sprinkler going over a shed or direct a fan over the dog to stir the air. If using a fan with puppies make sure the fan is played over them and not on them.

3. In hotter weather it is a good idea to give your dog electrolytes to help prevent heat stress. There are two very helpful additives, especially after several hot days.

* Bi-carbonate of soda is the main salt that is lost and is therefore the most important to replace. Give large dogs one flat teaspoon daily (half to small size) in the food, double in very hot weather. Dogs do not like it in the water.

* Electrolytes: various brands are available, the same dose as above.

4. If travelling in hot weather, in addition to the salts or bi-carb always travel with plenty of ice and water, and if the dogs are at all distressed place them on wet towels. The dogs will cool quickest through the feet, belly and anus. Hot air rises, so do not cover them with wet towels.

Remember: in these circumstances give plenty of shade, ventilation and water and a small amount of electrolyes and glucose.

Remeber that heat stress can occur on a relatively mild day, especially if it has been hot for the previous days.

Remeber also it can kill
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