Know everything about heatstroke in dogs

Who doesn’t enjoy spending time outdoors on a bright sunny day? Feels great? It’s the same for dogs too, they do enjoy spending time out of doors. But plenty of sun exposure in the summer months can be fatal. It is fun going for a small trip with your fur baby to the countryside, mountains, or even if it’s your garden. But it’s vital that you should know some of the biggest risks that your dog will face during the summer heat.

What is Heatstroke in dogs?

Heat stroke in dogs, otherwise called hyperthermia, occurs when their body temperature exceeds 103°F (39.4°C). Exposure to excessive external or environmental heat causes heatstroke in dogs.

Too much heat leads to organ failure and can actually kill your Fido even before you provide him with the first aid. As a pet owner, you should take care of your fur baby when he/she is out in the summer for an extended period.


What causes Heatstroke in dogs?

During the summer months, especially in hot and humid climates, Heat stroke is a common issue among dogs. Not only for us, but even animals also can't withstand this without shade. This means your pets are less efficient at regulating heat and body temperature. It can affect dogs of any age, breed, or gender. So keep an extra eye on your fur babies to protect them from Heat stroke.

The main reason for this is, they can't sweat off, so panting delivers an instant exchange of outside air. This reciprocity keeps your Dog's temperature normal. Sometimes when the outside air comes the same or greater than that of your pet's temperature, then there's a possibility of Heat stroke.


You might be playing or walking with your dog outside, and in most cases, you may not feel overheated on a warm sunny day, but your Dog's body temperature could be rising.

Not only the direct sun exposure but also Dogs left in RV's and Cars with or without the windows shut is one of the leading causes of sunstroke in dogs.


1. Never leave your Dog in a car parked under direct sunlight.

2. Get smart and use a pet monitor to check the temperature and monitor your Dog.

3. Carry additional bottles of drinking and splashing water.

4. Plan exercises and other outdoor activities when the outside temperature is cool.

5. Give immediate first-aid if your Dog is showing any signs of heat stress.

Regardless of what temperature it is, monitor your dog vigilantly always for signs of Heatstroke.

Heat stroke vs Heat exhaustion in dogs

Hyperthermia is the term used to describe heat elevation in a body. Three types of hyperthermia are Heat stress, Heat Exhaustion, and Heatstroke. The terms are interchangeably used, yet their conditions differ according to severity. Heat exhaustion is the milder verison of heatstroke. Body temperature not above 104°F, pets affected with heat exhaustion can still walk, panting and dehydrated.

Heat stress is a mild heat-related illness. At this stage, the dog shows signs like increased thirst and panting. If the condition prevails for long, it will progress to heat exhaustion. Dogs affected by heat stress show visible signs like increased heartbeat rate, dry or sticky gums, unusual color gums, lethargy, disorientation in walking, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and seizure sometimes. This gradually transforms into Heatstroke.

Types of heatstroke in dogs

Exertional Heatstroke: It results from exposure to an extremely hot and highly humid environment.

Non-Exertional Heatstroke: Also called classic heatstroke, this type can occur due to age factors or underlying dog health conditions.

What are the signs of heatstroke in dogs?

Signs of a light Heat stroke are a body temperature of 104 to 106 degrees. Sometimes excessive panting and other signs of discomfort show overheating in dogs. Bright red gums and thick saliva are the other common signs. When your fur kid’s temperature rises above 1060F, there are chances for his gums to become pale, act dizzy, bleed from the nose, dehydration, vomit, and even have diarrhea.

Some of the commonly seen and important heat stroke symptoms in dogs are,

1. Panting

Excessive panting is the primary sign of Heat stroke. It's how a dog cools down his/her body temperature.


2. Excessive Drooling

Other than panting, creating excess saliva helps your dog deal with heat better.

3. Needing frequent breaks and inactive

If your Dog shows this sign, then it's clear that your dog feels the effects of heat.


4. The rise in body temperature

You need to check this and confirm that your Dog's body temperature is not above 103°F or 39°C and make sure he/she is healthy.

5. Irregular heartbeat

Your Dog could be overheating if you see this sign. If your fur baby is experiencing it, take him/her to a vet immediately.


6. Dullness or Loss of Consciousness

Your fur baby looks dull and inactive for a long time lying somewhere. You'll think he/she is tired, but the actual reason might be different.

7. Walking drunk

If you see him/her walking with a loss of balance, give him/her plenty of water and take him/her to a vet with no further delay.


How to treat Heatstroke in dogs?

You must bring your Dog's body temperature down to 102°F or less, which is the most crucial part than rushing the pet to the emergency clinic. But if the condition is severe, then they need veterinaryattention.

Some of the common first aid methods for heatstroke in dogs are:

1.Lay them down on a wet towel or a pack of ice.

2. Add more ice cubes to their water

3. Use a shade screen or let them lie in the shade

4. Give him a cool bath, not too cold.

5. Bring your dog into an airy space and turn on the fan.

6. Offer ice cubes to lick or energy drinks to drink.

7. Wrap him/her in cold wet towels for some time.

8. Soak the pet in cold water from the hose.

Heatstroke in dogs - Recovery

The recovery period is based on the intensity of the Heat stroke. But in most cases, there's no permanent recovery. Heat strokes result in permanent organ damage or anything severe that is not recoverable, and your Dog may be disabled for lifelong.


Once your Dog gets discharged from the veterinary clinic, they may request a follow-up appointment for a regular checkup. And observing your Dog at home for any pernicious signs is vital.

You must know this, and there's an increased risk for developing Heat stroke again after some time or in the future. Hyperthermia is not a simple thing. It can spoil the life of your fur kid, so keep an extra eye to watch your four-legged family member. And if it's a mild Heat stroke, your Fido can recover in a few days to a couple of weeks. However, it is advised to reduce the number of outdoor exercises, walks, and other activities.

Heat stroke in dogs - Aftercare

Heat stroke is often preventable. It is crucial to watch for the causes and signs of Heat stroke in dogs. In many cases, without complicated health problems, most of the dogs will recover. But severe cases of Hyperthermia lead to organ failure and other fatal issues. So, your Dog might need a special diet prescribed by a veterinarian and ongoing care to recover soon. In exceptional cases, your Dog can suffer some after-effects, including irregular heartbeats and seizures.


There's an increased risk of getting it again once your Dog is affected by Heat stroke. So it would be best if you are prepared with all the precautions during hot and humid days to ensure your Dog's safety and happiness.

Keep your Fido in a cool space and avoid rooms with poor ventilation.

Avoid arduous exercises and other activities.

Carry a Pet Temperature Monitor to ensure your pet is always in the safe zone.

Do not leave your dog in the basement or other areas with excessive heat.

Avoid going out or spending time on a warm sunny day.

Provide sufficient shade and water when going out.

Your love, touch and care work well most of the time.

Carry Additional water bottles to splash when you think he/she is overheating.

Move your Fido into an Air Conditioned room in the summer months.

And finally, keep him at a good temperature always.

Heatstroke in dogs - Death

Hundreds of Dogs died last year in the United States endured heating-related illness and hyperthermia. Try visiting any nearby veterinarian hospital to know more about the reported cases. Dogs, Cats, and even other animals are dying every year being left outside in the summer months or in hot cars/RVs. And those numbers are just the ones that were reported.


It can affect any dog regardless of breed, age, and gender. Even a fit or athletic dog can suffer hyperthermia or other heat-related illness. Some dogs with weak immune are at even greater risk.

How long does heatstroke last in dogs?

Heat stroke in dogs is worse than you think. If not treated immediately, it can lead to death. It can cause severe damage to your dog’s organs, especially the bone marrow and liver. Most of the time, there’s no everlasting recovery. If your Dog had a permanent organ failure due to heat stroke or any severe damage like this is not recoverable, and your dog may be disabled forever.

One-third of all the dogs that survived had a “Severe functional impairment” that was not relieved even after 12 months.

If your fur baby is experiencing any of the signs that we discussed earlier, take him/her to a vet immediately.

How to prevent heatstroke in dogs?

There are numerous amount of preventive measures to avoid sunstroke. Some of the commonly followed methods are providing enough water and avoid spending time outdoors when temperatures rise.


Do not let your Dog go out when you feel hot and humid outside; if not, provide shaded areas. But most times, these common prevention methods are not enough to save your Fido from heat.

Follow these guidelines to prevent Heat stroke

Providing access to water anytime is the most important thing.

Feed them summer foods that can keep their body cool and appropriate for a hot climate.

Keep your dog indoors during the summer months or at extreme temperatures.

Use a Pet Monitor to check the temperature anytime and get alerts.

Carry additional bottles of drinking and splashing water.

Do not cage your Dog outdoors without enough shade and water.

Avoid playing or exercising with your Dog outdoors and other outside activities when the temperature is at its extreme or in the summer months.

Never leave your Dog in rooms with poor ventilation.

Avoid leaving your Dog in a Car/RV without adequate shade and water.

Plan exercises and other outdoor activities when the outside temperature is cool.

Wetting down your Dog in regular intervals with cool water is a great idea.


And who’s at risk?

  • Dogs with thick fur or coat.
  • Dogs with overweight and obesity.
  • Dogs in age extremes - Very young or very old.
  • Dogs with poor immunity.
  • Dogs with restricted access to water.
  • Dogs with short noses or flat-faced breeds.
  • Dogs with poor heart/lung condition.

Use Technology the Smart Way

Like most health-related problems, dog heat stroke can also be avoided with the help of ever-growing technology.

If you are a pet traveler or a dog parent at home, you may take advantage of pet protection monitors that constantly monitor your Dog's environmental temperature. They send alerts to your mobile/email when your doggo's surroundings or room temperature goes above or below the range you set. This is a real lifesaver as it helps you save pets or dogs from heat stroke and frostbite.