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Everything You Need to Know About Heatstroke for Dogs

Everything You Need to Know About Heatstroke for Dogs

Temperature changes have been hard to put down lately, making us experience warmth at its all-time high. Not only is high temperatures dangerous for us, but it could be potentially fatal for your dog. 

When you combine the high heat with too much outdoor time for your pup, it may cause heatstroke for your furry loved ones. And if this occurs with your dog, they may have medical complications, such as organ dysfunction or, in worst-case scenarios, death — that is, if you don't act quickly. 

Sadly, dogs left behind by their dog owners with only their dog collar and leash outside their kennel, crate, or street are quite common. And because of this human error, heatstroke has taken the lives of many dogs. 

If you're worried about your dog suffering from heatstroke, our guide will help you identify signs that your dog is overheating, how to cool them down, and the various symptoms you need to look out for. Let's get to it!

Signs and Symptoms of Heatstroke in Dogs

Knowing all of these symptoms — even if your dog won't experience them all at once — will help you diagnose your dog and possibly save their life. So if you're wondering how a heatstroke looks like in dogs and the signs they're under heat stress, here are the early warning signs you need to look out for:

  • Excessive and loud panting;
  • Extreme dehydration;
  • Thick saliva and excessive drooling;
  • Body temperature above 39°C;
  • Bright red tongue and pale gums;
  • Little-to-no amounts of urine;
  • Skin around neck or muzzle doesn't snap back when pinched;
  • Frequent vomiting;
  • Fast heart rate;

However, if the situation escalates, here are some of the signs of worsening heatstroke you need to remember:

  • Difficulty in breathing;
  • Gums that are blue or purple;
  • Weakness and fatigue;
  • Disorientation;
  • Coma or collapse;

Besides that, heatstroke in dogs can also develop unseen problems, including swelling of the brain, abnormal clotting, and kidney failure. But no matter what symptoms are showing, it's best to rush to your vet immediately. 

How to Cool Down an Overheating Dog

If you notice any of the symptoms above and you think your dog is experiencing a heatstroke or heat stress, you need to take immediate action. Here's what you should do to help your dog:

Step 1: Once you notice your dog is under stress, move them immediately to a cooler area, preferably in an air-conditioned room, and remove their dog collar and leash for circulation. If that's not possible, you can move them to a shaded area with proper ventilation.

Step 2: Determine their condition — if they're conscious and panting, provide some water and check their temperature. Depending on their body temperature, you can either take them inside and cool them down with a wet towel and fan. 

Step 3: If your dog is unresponsive or maybe having a seizure, check their breathing. While doing that, have someone call the emergency vet immediately, letting them know you're taking your pup to them right away. 

Step 4: Before heading to the vet, retake their temperature after the cooling process. If It's below 38°C, you can stop your actions. Further cooling may lead to unnecessary blood clots and a body temperature that's too low. 

Step 5: Even when your dog is slowly showing signs of recovery, it's best to still take them to the vet. There may be underlying conditions you need to be aware of that could help restore your dog's health.


The Bottom Line: You Need to Be Extra Careful With Your Dog During Hotter Seasons

Although a bright, sunny day is the best time to bring out your dog and play, the high temperatures may have adverse effects on your dog. So, if you think your dog is experiencing heatstroke or heat stress, take off their dog collar and leash, help them cool down, and take them to the vet right away.