ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Treat Heatstroke in Dogs

Updated on April 25, 2010

Dogs should never be left in hot cars unattended!

Heatstroke is a medical emergency in dogs which can be potentially fatal, treatment therefore, should not be delayed. Dogs are particularly prone to heatstroke because unlike humans, they are not equipped with the best cooling system, rather they are unable to sweat (other than through their foot pads) and rely on panting to absorb cool air while removing warm air. Trouble often arises when the temperatures in the environment are very close to the dog's internal temperature causing their cooling system to no longer be efficient as it is supposed to be. This is when heat stroke takes place.

Causes of Heat Stroke in Dogs

The likelihood of heatstroke arising increases when the dog is exposed to certain predisposing factors. Owners therefore, should lower the chances of their dog developing heat stroke by avoiding the following scenarios:

-Allowing the dog strenuous exercise on very hot and humid days

-Keeping the dog unattended in a vehicle on a hot day

-Keeping the dog out in the heat with no shadow or water

-Leaving a dog on hot surfaces such as asphalt or concrete

There are also predisposing factors in dogs that make dogs more prone than others in developing heat stroke such as :

-Belonging to a Brachycephalic breed such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers and Pekingese

-Having an underlying heart or pulmonary disease that interferes with the dog's ability to cool

-Developing a fever or seizures which both raise the dog's temperature core

Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Dogs

Heatstroke arises when the dog's rectal temperature measures over 104 degrees. A normal dog's temperature ranges between 99.5 to 102.5. Dogs affected by heatstroke develop the following symptoms:

-Heavy panting

-Difficulty and noisy breathing

-Bright red tongue and bright red gums

-Tacky saliva

-Bloody diarrhea

- The presence of Petechiae, small pinpoint bleeding under the skin

*Dogs must be monitored as well for a serious condition known as laryngeal edema, a condition caused by excessive panting where the larynx swells possibly turning life threatening if the dog's airway becomes obstructed. Affected dogs will develop a typical stridor, become cyanotic and be unable to breath.

As the heat stroke progresses symptoms of shock set in:

-Gums from bright red turn pale and grayish

- Dogs develop unsteadiness and a staggering gait

At this point, the dog may collapse, have seizures, go into coma ad eventually succumb.

Treatment of Heatstroke in dogs

Affected dogs must be cooled done rapidly and in the correct way. They must be removed from the heat and placed in a cool area, preferably where a fan or air conditioner is running. The temperature should be taken rectally.

According to Dr. Debra Primovic. in an article for PetPlace "Mildly increased temperature (less than 105 F) may only require rest, a fan to increase air circulation, fresh water to drink and careful observation. Temperatures of 105 to 107 F should be hospitalized on intravenous fluids and other medications.''

Dogs with temperatures above 104 degrees according to the Dog Owner's Veterinarian handbook should be immersed in a tub with cool water (never icy water) for up to two minutes. Cool packs may be helpful as well in mild cases and can be applied to the groin area. Paws may be wiped with cool water. The temperature should continue to be monitored until the safer zone of 103 degrees is reached. Once below 103 degrees, the dog should be dried carefully.

All dogs victims of heatstroke should seek veterinary treatment because of the risk of complications that may arise right away or be delayed. Serious complications encompass: laryngeal edema, kidney failure, seizures, irregular heartbeats and spontaneous bleeding.


Dog owner's home veterinary handbook Debra Eldredge DVM, Liisa Carlson DVM, Delbert G. Carlson D.V.M and James M. Giffin M.D Wiley Publishing, INC

Great devices fr those hot summer days!

K&H Pet Products Cool Bed III Cooling Dog Bed Large Gray 32" x 44"
K&H Pet Products Cool Bed III Cooling Dog Bed Large Gray 32" x 44"
We're now keeping pets cooler than ever with the new, Cool Bed III. No electricity is required to operate the Cool bed III and these beds are attractively designed and allow a cool spot for dogs. Simply add the recommended amount of water through the easy fill cap and burp with the new easy air adjustment valve. Our unique Cool Core diverts the liquid better than ever throughout the bed for advanced cooling power. The new nylon/vinyl exterior is tougher than ever!! Being extremely affordable, the Cool bed III is the choice for any dog owner looking to offer their pet a comfy, dry, cool place to relax. Recommended for indoor and outdoor use.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      12 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      It's 105 f here today so useful info again

    • melshomecorner profile image

      Melinda Winner 

      12 years ago from Mississippi

      great advise perfet timing


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)