Heat Stroke in Dogs: Signs, Prevention, and Treatments
Aug 04, 2017

There are few things better than spending a nice summer's day out with your fur babies, whether you go to a park with the family, or take them on a hiking trail, there is a sort of magic of seeing them run freely and having fun in the sun!

There is, however, a rule that should always be kept in mind. Safety first! Heat stroke can be a real danger to dogs, and because they cannot exactly tell us when they start feeling the symptoms, it is our job to keep an eye on them and make sure that they don't overheat. A dog's normal body temperature ranges from 99.5 – 102.5°F, which is a little higher than a human's normal body temperature. Because their body temperature is higher, it makes them more prone or susceptible to heat stroke. If you are hot and start to feel weak, your dog may already be in the beginning stages of heat stroke.  

Dog breeds that are prone to heat stroke

sad french bulldog

There are some breeds for which heat stroke is a higher risk, and these breeds usually include dogs with short snouts, including:

  • Pugs
  • Boxers
  • French Bulldogs
  • Bulldogs
  • Pekingese
  • Boston Terriers

Because of their short snouts, air circulation through their respiratory system is usually hampered which causes a slower cool-down rate.


Dogs that are double coated are also at risk of getting heat stroke quicker. Some breeds are just not built for warm temperatures:

  • Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • St. Bernard
  • Chow Chow
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador
  • Leonberger

Related Post: Top 4 Golden Retriever Health Problems!

Double coated dogs usually have air pockets that trap air in their coats, these air pockets keep them cool in summer and warm in winter. If you shave your double coated dog, you destroy this temperature regulatory system, which leaves them vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. Shaving your dog also exposes their skin to the sun, which may cause them to get sunburned or easily get heat stroke.

Signs of moderate heat stroke

Dachshund Dog Relax

You can recognize the beginning stages of heat stroke in your dog if he exhibits the following signs;

  • Rapid panting
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Glazed eyes
  • Very red tongue
  • Bluish-purple or bright red gums
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive salivating


Should you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, you will need to act quickly! It is possible for your dog to recover from moderate heat stroke within an hour or two if you act fast.

  1. Get your dog in to a cool place and out of the sun immediately.
  2. Your dog will need to cool down as quickly as possible. Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat through their skin to cool their bodies. They regulate their temperature through their respiratory system (panting) and through their paws. So get your dog's paws wet immediately.
  3. If your dog can stand in a pool of water, let him do so and wet your dog's stomach, chest and ears to help cool down quicker and lower his body temperature
  4. Let your dog drink water, as heat exhaustion can dehydrate him rapidly.

Signs of severe heat stroke


Should you miss the opportunity to act once you notice moderate heat stroke in your dog, it could advance into a more advanced and serious heat stroke. If your dog's temperature of above 103°F, it becomes fatal.  Severe heat stroke symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Shock
  • Coma

It should be noted that if your dog has gone into shock or a coma or has seizures that simply cooling him down would not be enough and that you should rush to your closest vet to assist immediately.  Keep your dog as cool as possible during the trip, as this may save his life.


Related Post:

Why Laser Pointers Are Bad for Dogs? 

How to Keep Your Dog Safe When Home Alone

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