Stroke in Dogs
are many reasons dogs can become dangerously overheated.
Dogs have sweat glands only on the pads of their feet
and cool themselves primarily by panting. When the air
is hot and humid, they cannot rid themselves of excess
heat efficiently. Heat exhaustion or heat stroke is more
likely to occur during the first hot day of summer when
it is 85 degrees than on a 100 degree day in August.
Dogs are used to the heat by the end of summer and
typically their owners know enough by then to take it
easy. Early in the summer dogs are not yet acclimated to
the summer heat.
Causes of Heat Stroke
1. Being left in a car in hot weather even if it is
only 70 degrees outside, the inside of a car can quickly
rise to over 100 degrees!
2. Physical exertion during the heat of the day this
can include going for a run with the owner, playing
outside, running along the backyard fence, etc. Heat
stroke can even occur inside if the house is warm and a
dog becomes excited, especially in a predisposed breed.
3. Being outdoors in hot weather without access to cool
water and shade. Dogs who are tied outside can sometimes
get trapped out of reach of shade or water.
4. Being a certain breed whose physical conformation
makes them unable to cool themselves effectively. For
example, Bulldogs, Boxers and Pugs have short noses,
small airways and excess tissue in the back of their
throat that can make it difficult to get rid of excess
5. Confinement to a poorly ventilated cage or crate,
especially under a cage dryer such as when a dog is
6. Being overweight
7. Having medical ailments such as heart or airway
disease, or any condition that impairs breathing.
8. Being very old or very young.
of Heat Stroke
1. Heavy panting rapid or labored breathing
2. Bright or brick red mucous membranes the gums
just above the teeth are a good place to check color.
The gums may also be dry to the touch.
3. Weakness or collapse
4. Elevated rectal temperature seek immediate
veterinary care if over 105oF.
6. Bloody diarrhea
7. Dark urine
|8. Bruising on skin
9. Bleeding from mouth
10. Seizures or coma
11. Death can occur within 20 minutes, or in a
couple of days from delayed complications such as kidney
Emergency First Aid for Heat Stroke
1. Immediately move the dog indoors or to a cool area.
If in an enclosed crate, remove the dog immediately.
2. Wet the dog down with cool water do not use ice
water as that will make internal cooling more difficult
by constricting blood vessels.
3. Take the rectal temperature if over 105oF,
transport immediately for veterinary care. Know where
the nearest emergency clinic is located. Call en route
to let them know you are coming.
4. Do not cover your dog during transport, even with a
wet towel, as that can prevent heat from escaping.
5. Offer water to drink during transport, though not to
a vomiting patient. Only offer small amounts of water.
6. Transport dog in an air-conditioned care or lower the
windows so circulating air can help with evaporative
7. If you are monitoring your dogs rectal temperature
during transport, stop cooling measures when it reaches
8. Even if your pet seems to respond to treatment, it is
still best to have them evaluated by a veterinarian to
check for internal problems. Complications from heat
stroke can develop several hours later due to organ
damage caused by high internal temperatures.
1. Do not leave your dog in the car when outdoor
temperatures are over 70F.
2. Restrict activity during the heat of the day.
3. Allow dogs to gradually acclimate to warm weather,
especially if they are physically active.
4. Provide access to shade and cool water when dogs are
5. Keep breeds at risk, very old or young dogs, or dogs
with health conditions indoors.
6. Ideally, keep all dogs inside when a heat advisory is
7. Use misters, fans or wading pools to provide extra
cooling measures for outdoor dogs.