Heatstroke In Dogs

The natural texture of the fur in dogs acts as a shield against the harsh cold weather, but can be an issue during the hot summer climates. Our furry friends have sweat glands in their footpads, which helps them to eliminate heat from their body, but only on a medium level. When frequent short and quick breaths, is unable to expense heat from the body, the body becomes overheated. In some cases, this can be fatal for the dog.

Things to watch for

Massive signs of discomfort along with frequent short and quick breaths are sure signs of overheating in dogs. It is imperative to know the temperature in action for the dog. These small steps can work wonders in eliminating the aftereffect and possible consequences of overheating in dogs.

The Main Cause

Any environment with an overheated ambiance can cause heatstrokes in our canine pals. By far, the most common cause of overheating in dogs, is casual actions like leaving the dog without an attendant in the car, in a hot and harsh summer day, or forgetting to give the dog a proper shade.

Other Causes

Canines with a natural thicky textured coat, short nose, or those suffering from conditions like laryngeal paralysis and obesity, can be a sure victim of heatstroke. In the same context, dogs who love to play and bang around the house constantly, should be regularly monitored for heatstroke symptoms. Breeds like Springer spaniels are naturally prone to suffer from the condition.

The Urgent Care

It is imperative to immediately remove the affected dog from the heat affected zone. If the dog faints, the owner will have to make sure that water does not enter the nasal path or the oral environment of the dog. Aspirin will not be great option to reduce the body temperature of the dog. It can lead to some health issues for the dog. One will have to follow the guidelines mentioned below:

  1. Submerge the lower part of the dog.
  2. Run a not so cold shower over the dog.
  3. The shower should take notice of the entire body, especially the neck and the back of the dog.
  4. Keep the head raised while the dog has the shower.
  5. Sometimes, getting the dog to the bathtub can be impractical. In that case, use of a garden loose for the cooling down purpose.
  6. Application of a cold pack will be a great option to reduce the body temperature of the dog.
  7. A packet of frozen veggies will also work in the favor.
  8. A massage to the dog, precisely a vigorous rubbing, will reduce the risk of shock and will help with the circulation of blood throughout the entire body.
  9. The dog will need as much cold and cool water as it can. Drinking the water will also in the favor to reduce overheating.
  10. Allowing a small portion of salt to the bowl of water for drinking will compensate the loss of essential minerals for the dog.

Steps mentioned below should be a part of the to-do list, regardless the fact that the dog may be conscious, seems to recover well, or is affected minimally:

  1. Investigate for symptoms of shock.
  2. Monitor the temperature of the dog, after an interval of every five minutes.
  3. Continuation of the water-cooling, until the temperature, stops at below hundred and three degrees Fahrenheit, or thirty-nine degrees centigrade.
  4. If the canine’s body temperature drops below hundred degrees, it isn’t an issue, as slightly low temperature is a much safer thing for the dog.
  5. Treatment for shock should be a priority.
  6. Last but not the least, the immediate intervention is crucial.

Some unseen aftereffects of Heatstroke

  • Brain swelling
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Unnatural clotting of the blood

The assistance of the Vet

The treatment will mainly consist of compensating the loss of essential minerals and fluids. As an extension of the treatment, the vet may target in eradicating the secondary options for the condition. The vet during the diagnosis processes, can find some unseen causes responsible for the condition.

An intravenous option for the medication is also an option. This beforementioned way of therapy, along with frequent monitoring of the dog will pave the way for faster recovery. Monitoring and reducing the blood pressure and balancing the electrolytes of the body also comes within the range of the treatment.


Heat strokes can be prevented, by keeping the dog indoors in humid and hot climates. This beforementioned fact is exceptionally applicable if the dog suffers from airway diseases. Breeds with a shorter face, like the Shih Tzus, Pugs, and Bulldogs have a greater tendency of suffering from heatstrokes.

When traveling in a car, one has to make sure that the dog gets good ventilation, by placing the furry friend in a basket. Often people leave the dog inside the car, which isn’t a great habit as it can create a suitable environment for heatstroke to happen. Well-equipped ventilation should always accompany outdoor staying.

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