Beating The Heat: Understanding & Preventing Dog Heat Stroke

by | Jun 2, 2023 | Our Blog, Vet Hospital Henderson, Vet Hospital Las Vegas | 0 comments

As temperatures soar, it’s important to remember that our furry friends can suffer from the heat too. Dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke than humans due to their limited ability to cool down. Heat stroke in dogs is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. In this blog, we will dive into the causes, signs, treatment, and prevention of dog heat stroke, ensuring you have the knowledge to protect your beloved canine companion.


Heat stroke in dogs is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises above normal levels and the body’s cooling mechanisms become overwhelmed. Dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke than humans because they have a limited ability to sweat, relying mainly on panting to regulate their body temperature.


  1. High temperatures: Dogs can develop heat stroke when exposed to excessive heat, especially in hot and humid conditions.
  2. Lack of ventilation: Leaving a dog in a poorly ventilated area, such as a hot car or a small, enclosed space, can quickly lead to heat stroke.
  3. Excessive exercise: Overexertion during physical activities, particularly in hot weather, can push a dog’s body temperature to dangerous levels.
  4. Breed predisposition: Certain breeds with short noses and flat faces, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boxers, are more prone to heat stroke due to their compromised breathing ability.
  5. Medical predispositions: Overweight dogs are at higher risk of heat stroke as they have difficulty regulating body temperature. Dogs diagnosed with collapsing trachea or laryngeal paralysis are at higher risk for heat stroke.


It’s crucial to be able to identify the signs of heat stroke in dogs. Look out for the following symptoms:

  1. Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  2. Dehydration / tacky gums
  3. Bright red, gray, purple or bluish gums
  4. Excessive drooling
  5. Collapsing
  6. Lack of urination
  7. Rapid pulse
  8. Muscle tremors
  9. Lethargy or weakness
  10. Vomiting or diarrhea
  11. Dizziness
  12. Fever


Heat stroke is an emergency situation, and immediate veterinary attention is crucial. In the meantime, here are some first aid measures to take:

  1. Move the dog to a cooler area: Bring them indoors or find a shaded spot.
  2. Lower their body temperature: Apply a cool, damp (not cold or wet) towel to their body, focusing on the head and neck area.
  3. Use a fan: Direct a fan towards the dog to enhance evaporation and cooling.
  4. DO NOT force cooling: Avoid using cold water or ice packs on your dog as it can cause the body temperature to drop too rapidly, leading to other complications.
  5. Seek veterinary care immediately: Even if your dog appears to recover, it’s essential to have them examined by a veterinarian to assess potential organ damage and provide necessary treatment.


  1. Avoid hot and humid conditions: Limit your dog’s outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day.
  2. Provide shade and water: Ensure your dog has access to a shaded area and plenty of fresh, cool water.
  3. Never leave dogs in cars: Even with windows cracked open, temperatures in a parked car can quickly reach dangerous levels.
  4. Be cautious with exercise: Avoid intense exercise during hot weather and opt for cooler times of the day.
  5. Recognize the signs: Familiarize yourself with the signs of heat stroke so that you can take prompt action if needed.

In conclusion, dog heat stroke can be a life-threatening condition for our furry companions, but with knowledge and preventive measures, we can protect them from its dangers. Understanding the causes and recognizing the signs of heat stroke allows us to take immediate action and seek veterinary care. By providing shade, cool water, and avoiding hot and humid conditions, we can minimize the risk of heat stroke in dogs. Remember, their well-being is in our hands, and by being proactive and vigilant, we can ensure they stay cool, comfortable, and safe during the scorching summer months. Let’s be responsible pet owners and keep our four-legged friends happy and healthy all year round.

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