Heat Stroke In Dogs – The Symptoms And Prevention

One of the greatest joys of having a dog is getting to share in adventures with them. Whether it’s going to the park, a festival, a cook out or any other of the numerous activities our dogs get to partake in with us during the summer, we love having our faithful companions right at our side.  However, we need to be careful when we take our dogs out during the summer that we are keeping them cool and hydrated to prevent heat stroke.  Heat stroke occurs in dogs when their internal temperature rises to 106 degrees fahrenheit or higher. The signs of heat stroke include:heat stroke in dogs

  • Panting
  • Dehydration 
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reddened gums 
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Shock
  • Staggering, wobbling, drunken movements
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Production of only small amounts of urine, or none at all 
  • Sudden kidney failure

If you notice any of these signs the first step is to try and cool your dog down so their body temperature returns to a normal 103 degrees. Always be sure to avoid cold water when trying to cool your dog down as this may cause the blood vessels near the surface of your dog’s body to constrict and decrease heat dissipation.  Try one of these suggestions to cool your dog down: 

  • Spraying down with cool water
  • Immersing dog’s entire body in cool water
  • Wrapping your dog in cool, wet towels
  • Convection cooling with fans
  • Allow your dog plenty of access to cool drinking water (but do not force them to drink)

Once you have cooled your dog down you still need to take them to their veterinarian ASAP to get examined to be sure there was no lasting damage has taken place within organs or the brain and that your dog’s body has stabilized and reached normal temperature.  If you see little to  no change in your dogs symptoms after trying these cool down methods, you should seek emergency vet care immediately.  Prevention Tips:  First and foremost, never leave your dog unattended in a hot car. Ever. The temperature in a parked, closed car can become dangerously hot within minutes, even with the windows cracked.  Avoid leaving your dog outside, in a garage or a sunny room as these places can become hot and stuffy quickly.  If your dog is old, has long fur or has a flat snout (such as Bulldogs, Pugs or French Bulldogs) avoid taking your dog out during the hottest times of the day. Take your daily walk in the early morning or late evening hours when the sun and heat are less intense.  Be sure your dog has water accessible them at all times, no matter where you are. 

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