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Watch out for heatstroke in dogs

Dear Readers: It’s the end of August, and the heat is on! Heatstroke can develop in a dog when its body temperature reaches over 104 degrees, and it can permanently damage body organs.

Can you recognize the signs of heatstroke in your dog? Here are some:

≤ frantic panting

≤ a bright-red or dark tongue and gums

≤ inability to stand upright

≤ seizing

≤ diarrhea and/or vomiting

≤ coma

Suspect heatstroke? Get to the veterinarian immediately. On the way, use cool — not cold — water to cool the animal, and have the dog lick ice cubes. Rubbing alcohol on the footpads can help.

Do you know which breeds of dog are most susceptible to heatstroke? Bulldogs and pugs (short-nose breeds) and dogs with heavy and dark coats, as well as dogs that already have breathing and heart problems, can be the most likely to get heatstroke, although no breed is immune.

In fact, according to the Humane Society (www.humanesociety.org), high-energy dogs (for example, Jack Russells) may not know when to stop running in hot weather. Watch them carefully outside. And of course, heatstroke is the main cause of death with a dog in a hot car.

Keeping your cool, and your dogs cool, is critical during hot weather. — Heloise

(Heloise is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. Send money-or time-saving hint to P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or E-Mail: Heloise@Heloise.com.)

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