A Complete Guide for Pet Parents

Every year, hundreds of dogs in the US suffer from heat-related illnesses. Any dog, regardless of breed, age, fitness level or gender can be affected.

What is heatstroke in dogs?

Heat stroke in dogs, known as hyperthermia, occurs when a dog's body temperature exceeds 103°F (39.4°C) during summer. Exposure to excessive environmental temperature rise causes heatstroke in dogs, especially in hot, humid climates. Too much heat leads to organ failure and can kill your Fido before you provide him with first aid.

Recognizing the signs of heatstroke and seeking immediate veterinary care is important. As a responsible pet parent, you should take care of your fur baby for an extended period when he/she is out in the summer months. Unlike humans, dogs only have sweat glands on their paws and must rely on panting to cool down.

Also Read: The Hidden Risks of Temperature Changes for Pets: What You Need to Know

What causes heatstroke in dogs?

Dogs are susceptible to heatstroke, especially in hot, humid climates. They can't regulate their temperature well, so protect them regardless of age, breed, or gender.

Heatstroke occurs when the body can't sweat and panting isn't enough in extreme temperatures. Even if you feel fine, your dog's temperature could rise outdoors.

Attention! These 5 signs say your dog is suffering from heatstroke

Leaving dogs in hot cars, especially in direct sunlight, causes heatstroke.

To prevent heatstroke:

  • Never leave your dog in a hot car, especially in direct sunlight.
  • Consider using a pet monitor to check the temperature.
  • Opt for exercising them during cooler times, especially in the summer months.
  • Be prepared to administer first-aid for heat stress. during cooler times.

Monitor your dog for heatstroke signs regardless of the temperature.

Also Read: How to avoid heatstroke in dogs?

What is Hyperthermia?

Hyperthermia is when a dog's body temperature exceeds the normal range. The three stages are heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke, each varying in severity.

Signs of heatstroke in dogs

Common heat stroke symptoms:

  • Panting/rapid breathing
  • Excessive drooling
  • IInactivity
  • Body temperature rise
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Limping

Symptoms once your dogs temperature exceeds 106°

  • Pale gums
  • Dizziness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dehydration
  • Worsening vomiting and diarrhea

How long does heatstroke affect dogs?

The lasting effects of heatstroke include:

  • Neurological dysfunctions
  • Organ damage
  • Increased heat sensitivity
  • Gastrointestinal problems

At-home treatment for heatstroke:

While not a substitute for professional care. immediate first aid can be crucial.

Some standard first aid methods are:

  • Move to a cool area: get your dog out of the heat and into a shaded or air-conditioned space.
  • Cool them down: use cool (not cold) water to wet your dog’s fur. Use a hose, wet towels or immerse them in a cool bath. Place cool, wet towels on the back of their neck, armpits and groin area.
  • Avoid using ice-cold water: it can constrict blood vessels and slow down the cooling process.
  • Create air flow: use fans to help with the cooling process.
  • Monitor temperature: use a thermometer to monitor their temperature. Stop cooling when it reaches around 103°F (39°C)
  • Offer water: allow your dog to drink small amounts of cool water but don’t force them to drink.

NOTE: Home treatment is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and timely intervention by a vet is essential.

How do veterinarians diagnose heatstroke?

  • Clinical Exam
  • Patient History
  • Symptom assessment
  • Lab tests
  • Imaging
  • ECG
  • Evaluation of organ function
  • Urinalysis

Prognosis of heatstroke

The prognosis of heatstroke is influenced by various factors, such as:

  • Severity
  • Timely treatment
  • Pre-existing health
  • Age
  • Hyperthermia duration
  • Organ issues
  • Vet care


Vigilant monitor for symptoms like irregular heartbeat and seizure, which can occur.

Follow these simple and effective aftercare steps:

  • Keep your dog in a cool, well-ventilated space
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Continue to provide fresh, cool water to keep your dog well hydrated
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Limit outdoor time on warm days
  • Avoid hot, poorly ventilated areas
  • Carry extra water
  • Ensure your home is cool and comfortable
Special diets and further veterinary care may be necessary.

Can heatstroke cause death in dogs?

Every year, hundreds of canine friends in the US suffer from heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke. Never leave your dog inside a parked car or outdoors, as dogs are extremely sensitive to extreme temperatures, especially on a hot day. On an 80-degree day, a car's interior can reach 100 degrees in just 10 minutes, putting your dog at risk of heat exhaustion. Any dog, regardless of breed, age, or gender, can be affected. Even fit dogs, and those with weak immune systems are at risk. Be vigilant and protect your furry friend from the dangers of overheating.

How to prevent heatstroke?

The best way to treat heatstroke is to prevent it from ever happening. Common prevention methods include:

  • Providing constant water access.
  • Keeping dogs indoors during extreme temperatures.
  • Feeding your dog cool foods in the summer.
  • Carrying extra water
  • Avoid leaving your dog outside without shade and water.
  • Limiting play and exercise during extreme heat.
  • Monitor RV/ccar temperatures.
  • Regularly wetting your dog with cool water when it’s hot out.

What dog breeds are at high risk for heatstroke?

  • Chow chow
  • Bulldog
  • French bulldog
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Greyhound
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • Golden retriever
  • Pug
  • Springer Spaniel

Dogs at higher risk of heatstroke include those with thick coats, obesity, puppies, senior pets, weak immunity, limited water access, short-nosed or Brachycephalic dog breeds, and heart/lung issues.

Waggle keeps your dog safe

The Waggle Pet Monitor is dedicated to ensuring your dogs safety. Whether at home or traveling, it continuously monitors your dog's environment, sending alerts via text or email if the temperature goes beyond your preset range. It's an invaluable tool to protect your pets from both heatstroke and frostbite.