Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

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

Heat stroke is a risk for any dog that spends time in a hot environment. Here, our Dallas vets discuss the dangers of heat stroke, causes, symptoms, treatment options, and actions to take to ensure your pup's safety. 

Dogs pant to eliminate excess heat from their bodies. However, when panting isn't enough, a dog's body temperature rises to dangerous levels and they can experience heat stroke. If not treated immediately, this condition can easily become fatal. 

What causes heat stroke in dogs?

Any hot environment can cause a dog to start exhibiting the symptoms of heat stroke. Careless actions by pet owners, like forgetting to provide shade or water when a dog is outside or leaving a dog in a car, result in tragedy all too often. 

Some dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke than others. Dogs with short noses, thick fur, or those with medical conditions are predisposed to heat stroke. Even dogs who enjoy constant playtime and exercise should be watched closely for symptoms of heat stroke, which can occur any time throughout the year, but especially on hot or humid days. 

How will I know if my dog has heat stroke?

Excessive panting is often the most visible symptom of heat stroke in dogs. Other symptoms may include signs of discomfort such as reddened gums, mental dullness, drooling, uncoordinated movement, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and collapse. 

Heat stroke can cause severe issues internally, such as kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, swelling of the brain, and abnormal blood clotting. This is why immediate emergency veterinary care is highly recommended.

Heat stroke symptoms can happen very quickly in dogs and result in death in under one hour, especially if your pooch does not have access to water, shade, and rest. 

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

Call your veterinarian or the nearest emergency animal hospital immediately and let them know you are on your way. On the way to the veterinary clinic, travel with the windows open and the air conditioner on. 

Until you arrive at your veterinarian's office, be sure to:

  • Immediately remove your dog from the hot environment. 
  • Do not give your dog aspirin to lower his temperature, as this can lead to other problems. 
  • Allow your dog to drink as much cool water as they want, but don't force them to drink. 
  • Place a towel soaked in cold water on your dog's back to cool him off. 

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

If your dog is experiencing heat stroke, treatment will include intravenous fluid therapy to replace fluids and minerals. 

Your veterinarian will also monitor your dog for secondary complications such as kidney failure, development of neurologic symptoms, abnormal clotting, changes in blood pressure and electrolytes abnormalities. 

How can I prevent my dog from developing heat stroke?

As a pet owner, it is important to be aware of the outside temperature and take appropriate measures to prevent heat stroke, especially during hot and humid conditions.

When outdoors, always make sure your dog is in a well-ventilated area with access to plenty of water and shade.

While traveling in cars, make sure that your dog is kept in crates that has good ventilation, and never leave your dog in a car with the windows closed.

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.

Is your dog displaying symptoms of heat stroke? Contact our Dallas vets to arrange emergency care right away, or visit your closest emergency animal hospital.

New Patients Welcome, New Hope Animal Hospital, Dallas

New Patients Welcome

New Hope Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Dallas companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

(770) 485-1536 Contact