Preventing Dog Heat Stroke

Dogs are much more susceptible to heat stroke or hyperthermia than humans. And some breeds of dogs are more susceptible than other dogs such as short nosed breeds like pugs, boxers and bulldogs. Dogs can only sweat through their paws and by panting which is not very efficient. So during hot weather we need to take precautions and monitor our dogs for the effects that heat can have on them. Dogs with moderate heat stroke can recover quickly without complication or lasting medical effects but severe heat stroke can cause organ damage and ongoing medical problems for the life of the dog and in severe case even death.


Dog Heat Stroke Signs

  • Leaving your dog in a parked car. Temperatures even on a 70 degree day can reach above 100 degrees in minutes even if your car is parked in the shade.
  • Exercising in hot weather. This is especially true with older dogs, dogs that are over weight or dogs with medical problems.
  • Dogs left outside without shade or proper access to water.
  • Rapid Panting and Drooling
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red and Pale Gums
  • Thick Sticky Saliva
  • Hyper ventilation (gasping for air)
  • Glossy eyes
  • Fever (103 +)
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse


  • Dog Heat Stroke is an emergency that requires immediate attention and prompt treatment especially if the dog is exposed to temperatures of 104 degrees without shade or water. If your dog is showing signs of heat stroke you must act quickly but before rushing your dog to the vet do the following first:
  • Remove dog from hot area
  • Begin immediately to cool the dog by wetting him with cool water especially the feet. You can use wet towels, rags, immersing him in water like the sink or bath tube, or use a water hose. Try to get a rectal temperature so you can gauge when to stop the cooling process. Stop cooling when you reach 103 degrees.
  • DO NOT USE ICE or ICE COLD WATER. This can be dangerous by cooling the dog too quickly and can cause other life threatening conditions.
  • Move air around the dog, like a fan or A/C.
  • Immediately call your vet or emergency to get advice and once you have reached a temperature of 103 degrees take him immediately in for treatment.


Dog Heat Stroke Prevention

  • Provide shade and plenty of water if your dog stays outside.
  • On hot days restrict exercise.
  • When exercising your dog bring plenty of water with you even on days in the mid 70’s.
  • Avoid concrete, asphalt and beaches with hot sand.
  • On hot days have a kiddie pool or sprinkler available for your dog.
  • On really hot days move your dog inside to a cool area.
  • On a hot day do not put your dog into a closed crate without proper air flow and water.
  • Never leave your dog in a parked car even on a day that is 70 degrees.
  • When traveling with your dog, especially if she is in a crate, make sure there is proper air flow to your dog and that direct sunlight is not hitting the dog or his crate. Use shades or other protection from the sun.
  • Keep pets with predisposing conditions like heart, obesity, old age, or breathing problems in cool places and limit their activity.
  • Be especially careful with short nosed breeds like pugs, boxers, bulldogs on hot days. Limit their activity and keep in cool places.
  • Always provide plenty of fresh cool water.

Dogs can’t take off their fur coat like we can just shed our clothes so we have to take care of them. Image what it would be like to sit out in 100 degree weather with a Gorilla suite on without water for just 15 minutes. Most of us would collapse. Remember even if we feel cool our dogs may not with their fur coats. Remember to put yourself in their place and prevent a potential tragedy from happening.