12+ Signs & Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Dogs

It is important to remember that the dog needs special care in hot weather. Overheating of the animal’s body can cause heatstroke and, as a result, disruption of the functioning of internal organs.

The affected dog will show several symptoms:

  • shortness of breath
  • hyperemia (redness) of the mucous membranes
  • dehydration
  • thickening of saliva
  • acute renal failure
  • arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • change in mental state
  • lack of coordination of movements
  • convulsions
  • tremors (tremors) of the muscles
  • vomiting, sometimes with blood
  • diarrhea
  • shock
  • coma

What needs to be done

Remove animals from hot areas immediately. Prior to delivery to the veterinarian, lower the temperature by thoroughly soaking in cold water (for very small dogs, use warm water), then increase the movement of air around the dog using a ventilator. WARNING: Using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. Rapid cooling of body temperature to too low a value can lead to other life-threatening diseases. Rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes. After the body temperature reaches 39.4, the cooling measures must be stopped and the dog must be thoroughly dried and covered so that it does not continue to lose heat. Even if the dog appears to be recovering, get it to the veterinarian as soon as possible. She still needs to be examined as there may be dehydration or other complications.

The reasons:

  • excessive ambient temperature and humidity (maybe due to weather conditions such as on a hot day, or the dog is in an unventilated room, car, etc.);
  • diseases of the upper respiratory tract that interfere with breathing (the upper respiratory tract is understood as the nose, nasal passages, throat, and trachea);
  • chronic diseases that increase the likelihood of developing hyperthermia, such as laryngeal paralysis; cardiovascular diseases; pathology of the nervous system;
  • poisoning; some toxic substances, such as strychnine, can lead to seizures, which cause an abnormal increase in body temperature;
  • complications of anesthesia;
  • excessive physical activity.

Dog heat stroke recovery

Recognizing the symptoms of heatstroke early is the key to a speedy recovery. If the rise in your dog’s body temperature is related to ambient temperature, the first step is to try to lower his body temperature.

Some external cooling methods include spraying the dog with cool water or immersing the dog’s entire body in cool water; wrapping the dog in cool, damp towels; convection cooling with a fan; and/or evaporative cooling (eg rubbing alcohol on the pads, groin, and under the forelegs). Stop cooling procedures when the temperature reaches 39.4 (checked with a rectal thermometer) to avoid lowering body temperature below normal.

It is very important to avoid using ice or very cold water, as this can spasm superficial blood vessels and reduce heat dissipation. Chills are also undesirable because they create internal warmth. Lowering the temperature too quickly can lead to other health problems, gradually lowering the temperature is better. The same applies to drinking water. Allow your dog to drink cool, but not ice-cold, water freely. However, do not force-feed your dog.

In many cases, patients must be hospitalized until their temperature stabilizes, and it may be necessary to undergo intensive care for several days if organ damage occurs.


Dogs that have suffered from hyperthermia are exposed to it again. Be aware of the clinical signs of heatstroke so you can react quickly to it. Know how to cool your dog properly, talk to your veterinarian about appropriate procedures to maintain the correct body temperature, and lower it as safely as possible.

If your dog is elderly or is a brachycephalic breed that is prone to overheating, avoid walking during the hottest hours of the day, and do not leave the dog in places that could get too hot for your dogs, such as a garage, sunroom, sunny yard, or car … Never leave your dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes, as a closed car gets dangerously hot very quickly. There must be water available to your dog; on hot days, you can even add ice cubes for your dog to lick.

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