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How to Tell if Your Dog Has Heat Stroke: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Our cardiologist veterinarian in Meadow Vista explains the causes, symptoms, and treatments for dog heat stroke and provides proactive measures you can implement to safeguard your pet's well-being.

Dogs, unlike humans, dissipate heat by panting. When panting fails to suffice, a dog's body temperature increases, potentially leading to heat stroke, which can prove fatal if not promptly addressed.

What causes heat stroke in dogs?

Any hot environment can induce heat stroke in dogs. Pet owners most commonly cause this condition through negligent actions, such as leaving their dogs in cars or neglecting to offer water and shelter during outdoor activities.

Certain dogs possess a higher susceptibility to heat stroke. Dogs with thick fur, short noses, or underlying medical conditions are more predisposed to experiencing heatstroke. Even dogs that engage in continuous exercise and playtime require vigilant observation for heat stroke symptoms, particularly on scorching and humid days.

What are the symptoms of dog heat stroke?

Excessive panting stands out as the primary indicator of heat stroke in dogs. Additional signs of discomfort may manifest, encompassing drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, mental dullness or loss of consciousness, uncoordinated movement, and even collapse.

Heat stroke in dogs potentially signifies a grave medical concern, with the potential to trigger hidden complications, including brain swelling, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, and abnormal blood clotting. Given these potential risks, it is imperative to seek immediate veterinary attention.

What should I do if I think my dog has heat stroke?

Contact your veterinarian or the closest emergency animal hospital immediately, informing them you are en route. While heading to the veterinarian, ensure the windows are open and the air conditioner is running.

Until you can get to the veterinarian, be sure to:

  • Remove the dog from the hot environment immediately.
  • Do not give the dog aspirin to lower its temperature, as it can lead to other problems.
  • Let your dog drink as much cool water as they want without forcing them to drink.
  • Cool your dog with cold water by placing a soaked towel on their back.

How will the veterinarian treat my dog's heat stroke?

In cases of heatstroke in dogs, veterinarians will administer intravenous fluid therapy to replace fluids and minerals. Additionally, they will closely monitor your dog for secondary complications, including kidney failure, the development of neurologic symptoms, abnormal clotting, changes in blood pressure, and electrolyte abnormalities.

How can I prevent my dog from developing heat stroke?

As a pet owner, you must stay vigilant about the outside temperature and proactively prevent heat stroke, particularly in hot and humid conditions.

When outside, ensure your dog stays in a well-ventilated space with ready access to ample water and shade.

When traveling by car, ensure your dog stays in well-ventilated crates, and never leave them in a car with closed windows.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog shows any signs of heat stroke, contact our Meadow Vista cardiologist emergency veterinary hospital immediately.

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Meadow Vista Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients including dogs, cats and large animals. Get in touch today to book your first appointment.

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