What You Need to Do If Your Dog Is Suffering From Heat Stroke

Posted by Amanda Langill on

It's always scary to see your dog suffering from any type of medical emergency. But there are ways to manage and prevent specific types, like heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

By definition, heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia that occurs when heat-dissipating mechanisms of the body cannot accommodate excessive heat. Body temperatures above 105F are suggestive of heat stroke.

Heat stroke isn't picky. It can happen to any breed of dog at any age. However, those with long hair and/or shorter nosed breeds are more likely.

How does it happen? Factors that could lead to heat stroke could include obesity, exercise, little to no access to water, or high temperatures and humidity.

If your dog does fall into any of those risk categories or if they're in an environment that can cause them to be more prone to it, this list of signs could potentially be indicators.

These signs could include panting, red mucous membranes of the mouth, a high heart rate, dry nose, seizures, blood from the mouth or poop, muscle tremors, warm to the touch, drooling, acting lethargic, staggering and vomiting. Another tragic sign could be them falling into a coma.

Panting Dog From Heat Stroke

What to Do In This Situation

If your dog is suffering from heat stroke, it's incredibly important to not use cold water or a cold compress. And actually, on the opposite end of the spectrum, it is also important to note that you should not use hot water or a hot compress when dealing with a dog suffering from hypothermia. In doing this, you run the risk of sending your dog into shock with the drastic change in temperature.

Instead, what you want to do is rush them over to a cooler area. If your outdoors, you could try a shady spot to carry them to. Then, take a cool, again, not cold, towel, sponge, or any compress, and use it to cool down your pup. Make sure to pay attention to their underside.

You can also use a fan to help cool them if available and allow them to drink tiny amounts of cool water. One of the most important things to look for is that you want to bring them to a point where their breathing is beginning to settle, but you do not want them to get to the point of shivering.

If you're able to take their temperature, and during the initial test, it is at 105F or higher, try to reduce it to 103F but not any lower because you then do not want to bring it down to critical levels.

Once the temperature is reduced, rush them to the vet immediately so they can receive the medical attention they need so you can assure that they'll be okay. During the initial test, if their temperature is not yet 105F, still, bring them to the vet right away. As is with everything else related to your dog's health, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Remember. In any medical situation, you always want to call and check with your vet first thing. We are not professionals and our advice does not take the place of your veterinarian.

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