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Is It Legal to Break a Car Window to Save a Dog?

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Topics: Dog Safety, Summer Pet Safety Tips, Heat Exhaustion, Summer, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Dog, Signs of Heat Stroke, Heat Exhaustion in Dogs, Heat Stroke Risk Factors

Does Giving Ice Water to a Dog Cause Bloat?

Quite a few people have emailed me in the last couple of days regarding a certain blog post that seems to be making the rounds again - it’s an article from 2007 warning about the supposed danger of giving ice water to dogs.

The author claims - quite emphatically - that drinking ice water caused her dog, “Baran”, to bloat.

While the author’s heart is likely in the right place, her facts and the conclusion she arrives at (and sadly propagated since 2007) are way off base.

First of all, if Baran even bloated, which, based upon the reported findings at surgery (“Baran’s stomach was in its normal anatomic position”), is seriously in doubt - it’s far more likely that it was caused by drinking a large volume of water in a short space of time following exercise than it was to the cold temperature of said water. But sadly, many of the important details are left out of the story.

The greater likelihood is that Baran was suffering from heat-related illness, probably heat exhaustion. It was this that caused him to drink so much water in such a short space of time, which can easily lead to nausea, which itself can show the reported signs of “dry heaving and drooling” and “was in some distress”. Yes, these are common signs of bloat in dogs - but it’s not the only condition they are associated with.

From here, the validity of the story unravels even further. While it is definitely correct to bring a dog exhibiting these signs directly to the vet, it is unlikely that the attending veterinary teams would have handled the situation the way the author describes.

One of the key statements that undermines the series of events as the author describes them is, again, the surgical findings… the “stomach was in its normal anatomic position”. Unless the stomach spontaneously derotated, which is possible, though highly unlikely, there was never any torsion (stomach twist) in the first place, and X-rays taken at the time of presentation at the first vet hospital and/or at the emergency clinic would have shown this. And if these X-rays showed gas accumulation, the “bloat” (dilatation) that the owner claims in the story, the attending veterinarian would have decompressed the stomach via stomach tube - not surgery.

Sadly, there are many holes in this story, this is just one (albeit a big one). And I’m not the only vet to debunk this story, you can read Dr. Patty Khuly’s response or Dr. Audry Harvey’s. These are just two other examples, there are many more. In fact, even Snopes.com, the wonderful “urban myth hole poker”, has a nice long article on this story.

But again, the goal is to educate, and the author’s heart is in the right place - spreading awareness of canine bloat (better called GDV, or Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus) is crucially important. So let’s capitalize on the popularity of this story and spread some real knowledge about GDV/Bloat, and let’s go a step further and spread some real knowledge about heat-related illness in dogs, too. After all, the erroneous advice and conclusion of the story doesn’t diminish the real dangers of GDV/Bloat and heat-related illness in pets. So please, read and share the information I’m presenting below - and especially do so if you made the mistake of previously sharing the erroneous story that prompted this post. If this factual information gets as many shares as the original story we’ll all have saved an awful lot of lives, and an awful lot of pet owner stress.

Learn more about GDV/Bloat.

Learn more about Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke.

Ironically, there is a very real danger related to givin

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Topics: Dog Safety, Dog Health, Torsion, GDV, Risks for GDV, Bloat, Treatment for GDV, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Dog, Dog's stomach, volvulus, Gastric Dilatation, Is ice water bad for dogs, Blog

Dogs in Cars: Debunking Five Dangerous Misconceptions

Sadly there are still many erroneous myths and misconceptions out there surrounding the idea of leaving pets in parked cars. These contribute to dangerous practices that result in the heat stroke cases and deaths that my colleagues are seeing on a daily basis in the news and online all-too-frequently.

This article should debunk these misconceptions and hopefully get us closer to ending these dangerous practices. Use it to educate yourself and protect your pets, and share it to help educate others. The more people we can get to recognize the inherent dangers of these misconceptions and practices, the more injuries and deaths from heat stroke we can all help to prevent.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, Dogs, Safety, Cats, Heat Exhaustion, Summer, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Danger, Pets, Prevention, Blog

Heat Stroke In Dogs: What is it and when does it happen?

What Is Heat Stroke In Dogs?

When a dog’s body temperature rises over 104°F and his mechanisms for cooling himself – such as panting – become overwhelmed and stop working properly, heat stroke sets in.

Sadly it’s not just a dog’s thermoregulatory (“cooling”) system that fails in heat stroke. As the condition progresses and the body temperature rockets even further above 104°F, most body systems fail. Among them are the all-important neurologic, urinary, circulatory, and blood clotting systems. Once these systems begin to fail, the likelihood of recovery from heat stroke is very slim.

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Topics: Kids and Pets, Dogs, Safety, Cats, Heat Exhaustion, Summer, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Danger

Heat Stroke: How To Treat My Pet's Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke?

In this article you’ll find an outline of the first aid steps you should take to treat a cat or dog suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

You’ll also find important warnings and principles of first aid for heat-related illnesses.

Please keep in mind that while many of the more mild cases of heat exhaustion can be successfully staved off with the basic first aid steps provided below, all cases of heat stroke (and many of the more severe cases of heat exhaustion) will require veterinary care following your initial first aid. When in doubt, just bring your pet for veterinary evaluation, as heat-related illnesses are nothing to be trifled with. These are cases where it’s truly better to be safe than sorry.

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Topics: Dogs, Safety, Cats, Heat Exhaustion, Summer, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Danger, Pets, Prevention

Heat Stroke: Is my dog at risk?

Along with the outside temperatures and humidity and the situations that people may put and leave their pets in – hot cars, exercise on hot days, etc. – there are several other pet-specific “predisposing” factors that can increase a pet’s risk for suffering from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

If your cat or dog has one (or several) of the characteristics or conditions listed below they may be at increased risk of suffering from heat-related illnesses. Please take extra precautions on warm and humid days and be sure to speak with and work with your pet’s veterinary team to best manage your pet’s risk of suffering heat stroke.

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Topics: Dogs, Safety, Cats, Heat Exhaustion, Summer, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Danger, Pets, Prevention, Brachycephalic, Persian, Bulldogs, Scottish Fold, French Bulldogs, Pekingese, Boxers, Himalayan, Shih Tzu, British Shorthair

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.