Your Guide to Shih Tzu Heat Stroke
Shih Tzu Heat Stroke is a dangerous condition and may be more common than you think, especially if you live in a warm climate.
Shih Tzu, like all dogs with short flat noses (brachycephalic), may have difficulty breathing and may overheat, especially in hot weather.
Shih Tzu dogs tolerate cold weather far better than warm days.
Pets with the tiniest nostrils have the greatest problems during hot weather. These are the dogs with pinched nostrils or stenotic nares.
This is a medical emergency and needs immediate attention.
Risk Factors for Shih Tzu Heat Stroke
- Exposure to hot conditions
- The very young puppy or old senior
- Heart or lung problems
- Brachycephalic syndrome (Shih Tzu)
- Thick long coat (trim your Tzu’s hair short in the summer)
- Insufficient water intake
The Cause is extreme exposure to excessive heat and the signs may include:
- Increased body temperature
- Red tongue
- Pale gums
- Rapid heart rate
- Depression or Weakness
- Seizures or tremors
This is a life-threatening emergency and first aid must be administered immediately.
First Aid for Shih Tzu Heat Stroke
- If you notice any symptoms or
they begin to loose their balance, pick them up and transport to a cooler area.
Place them in a cool bath. (Not Cold). A garden hose will do in the case
of an emergency. Do not try to cool too
quickly as this can be dangerous.
- Use wet towels if a bath is not
- Use a rectal thermometer to check
temperatures about every 5 minutes. As
soon as he reaches a temperature of 103, stop cooling him and dry him off. Never use ice or very cold water.
- Once you have lowered his
temperature to 103, you can then transport him to your nearest emergency
veterinarian. (The normal temperature of
a dog is 101-102 degrees F.)
Treatment at the Veterinary Hospital
Your dog will be re-hydrated with
fluids and monitored for shock. The vet
may also provide additional oxygen for him.
The vet may need to low the temperature, and if so, a cold-water enema
may be given. Special diets may be
recommended, or IV fluids given until the dog can eat solid foods.
Most dogs recover, but they may be left more susceptible
to heat stroke later on. Inpatient
hospitalization is often indicated.
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The Best Medicine is Prevention
All over the world, we are facing
increasingly hotter temperatures due to global warming, and keeping your Shih
Tzu outdoors or in a hot car is considered cruel and unusual punishment.
Shih Tzu dogs should never be
kept outdoors in the summer for any length of time. Keeping a dog
confined in a hot car during the summer is a sure death sentence. Your dog needs extra water in the hot weather
and if you must be out with your dog during extreme temperatures, find a shady spot
for your dog to rest.
Jogging or running is not a good
idea in hot weather and can lead to heat stroke. When indoors, use air conditioning for this
breed, but in lieu of that, use fans to help keep your pouch and you comfortable. Sometimes just wetting him down will help
keep him cool.
A kiddie size pool is a welcome
relief from the heat for some Shih Tzu dogs, although not all will enjoy such
activities. Add about one to two inches
of water to the pool, and supervise any swimming activities. Some Shih Tzu love to crunch on ice cubes
that have been added to their water bowl.
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In Hot Weather, Your Shih Tzu Should:
- Stay indoors in cool rooms (air conditioning or fans)
- Limit exercise
- Take walks early or late in the day when the air temperature is lower
- Have a Trimmed Hair Style
- Drink extra water
- Nibble on Ice cubes in the water bowl as a treat for some
- Splash in a kiddie pool with one or two inches of water
keep some dogs cool
NEVER leave your dog in a hot car, even if the windows are
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