Heat Stroke in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Did your dog get too hot when outside playing? They may have developed a heat stroke. This is commonly seen in dogs in the hot summertime but can occur year around especially in the southern states where it stays warm for a longer time.

What is Heat stroke?

Heat stroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature is over 106. The normal range of a dog’s body temperature is 99.5 to 102.5. Over 103 veterinarians will say that your dog has a fever. This can be due to being over heated or an infection that their body is trying to fight. Any temperature over 106 can be deadly to your dog.

What can cause my dog to have heat stroke.

There are many ways that your dog can quickly become overheated. These are some of the most common reasons:

  • Staying outside on a hot day
  • Going for long walks or runs
  • No shade or cool water for your dog to cool off in
  • Being overweight
  • Dog who are very excited

What are the signs of heat stroke?

Signs of heatstroke are just like the signs seen in people who are over heated. Most dogs will also pant to cool themselves off. These are some other signs that you may see:

  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Warm to touch especially their ears
  • Red gums
  • Quiet or poorly responsive, they may lay down and refuse or be unable to rise
  • Blood in mouth or stool
  • Fast heart rate
  • Dry nose
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Ataxia or staggering gait
  • Coma

How is heat stroke treated in dogs?

If you think that your dog is suffering from a heat stroke, it is best to bring them inside and run cool water on them. Also make sure that they are laying in front of a fan or air condition to help. You can also put rubbing alcohol on their feet pads, ear flaps and in-between their legs.

If your dog is not cooling off very quickly, it is best that you bring them to a vet right away. They will be able to give your dog cool IV fluids to help cool them off internally too.

How to prevent heat stroke?

Some dogs love to spend all day outside. If you have your dog outside for a long period of time, it is best to make sure that they have plenty of water and shade.

You can even put a bucket of water in your freezer and put it out for your dog. As it melts this will give your dog something cool to drink all day long. You can also provide your dog a small kid pool for them to get into and lay down to cool off.

If your dog is prone to getting over heated or has issues that would cause them to get hot faster, it is best to supervise them while they are outside playing and keep them inside as much as possible.

Is your dog suffering with signs that look like heat stroke? If you need advice on what you can do to help your dog at home or recommendations on if it is best for your dog to see a vet, reach out to one of our experienced vets.

Reach out and chat with one of our licensed Vets on PetMyPal’s Vet Chat. It is affordable, easy to use and above all you will have peace of mind that your pet will be taken care of. Happy pet parenting!

Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM
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