Heatstroke in dogs: symptoms and what to do

Heatstroke in dogs: symptoms not to be overlooked and what to do

The heat stroke in dogs it is a rather serious, potentially deadly problem that requires attention and timeliness. It is necessary to act quickly to avoid serious consequences for the animal. Knowing the symptoms and knowing what to do is therefore an excellent idea, also in terms of prevention.

Summer is undoubtedly the period in which dogs are most exposed to the risk of heatstroke. However, it should be borne in mind that this problem is not limited to the summer period, but can also occur with temperature slightly lower if associated with intense effort or a particular humidity level.

Some symptoms can help signal the onset of heatstroke in time. Real gods alarm bells, which if correctly interpreted will allow you to provide your dogs with timely care.

Heatstroke in dogs, what is it

Heatstroke in dogs is similar to the condition that can also occur in humans. There body temperature it tends to rise beyond the limits tolerated by the animal, usually around 37/38 degrees, up to over 41 degrees Celsius.

Occurs as anticipated in particular case hot, such as in summer, or following one intense effort. A high rate of humidity it tends to increase the perceived temperature and consequently favors the onset of heat stroke.

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Heatstroke in dogs, risk factors

Let’s start from the first medications. Analgesics, diuretics, and medicines for heart patients are among the possible risk factors for heatstroke.

There are also pathologies and conditions that can promote heat stroke, such as the brachicefalismo, l’hyperthyroidism and the Seizures. The latter can increase the risk due to the repeated muscle contractions that accompany the disease.

On the brachycephalic front, among the breeds most at risk include the pug, the English bulldog and the French bulldog, the chin and the boston terrier. There are also particular risks for the youngest or the most elderly, as well as for those dogs suffering from obesity.

Absolutely avoid leaving the dog alone inside theauto, even if with the windows partially down. Even a few minutes can prove fatal for particularly sensitive individuals. Possible solution is the use of air conditioning, otherwise it is good to bring the animal with you or leave it in the comfort of your own home.

Heatstroke in dogs: symptoms

There are several symptoms useful to indicate the onset of heat stroke. They can be traced back to different stages of severity, whose picture can evolve even in just 20 minutes. It is important not to underestimate these alarm bells, but always act in a targeted and timely manner.

How does heatstroke happen in dogs?

Heatstroke in dogs occurs when the normal defense mechanism of the animal is not sufficient: while in humans it is exercised with sweating, in the four-legged it happens with the open mouth breathing.

If despite this the internal temperature tends to exceed the normal one (around 37.5-38 degrees), one of the first symptoms for the dog in heatstroke will be agitation. In this first phase, a rapid breathing, which will express the attempt to resolve the malaise through the intensification of open-mouth breathing.

In some cases, del He retched. However, this is not a useful event for diagnosis, as it could guide the owner to limit the discomfort to a feeding problem.

Dog scratches, fleas or shaking

More serious symptoms, second phase

The second phase of heat stroke involves the appearance of the first symptoms of dehydration, triggered by the heat and physical stress to which the dog is subjected. So pay attention to gums, which could be dry and sticky.

The animal is now in shortness of breath, and the gums no longer offer indications regarding blood circulation (pressing on the gum does not show a noticeable color change).

Third phase, appearance of diarrhea in the dog in heatstroke

Confusional state e disorientation are among the symptoms that appear during the third phase. The appearance of red spots on the skin, called petechiae, is also possible. Do not overlook any episodes of diarrhea, which could arise due to the strong rise in temperature and the consequent alteration of the intestinal bacterial flora.

Heatstroke in dogs and diarrhea

The diarrhea in dogs due to the heat it can be a useful indicator, if properly interpreted. As with vomiting, it is a symptom that can lead to errors in the differential diagnosis and the risk of wasting precious time.

When it occurs heat stroke diarrhea in dogs, faeces may contain traces of blood. The presence of blood should help to make the criticality of the situation more evident. In these cases it is advisable to alert the veterinarian as soon as possible, in the meantime providing to cool the dog.

fourth phase

This is the final stage of the disease, which it is highly recommended not to arrive at. Symptoms such as lethargy e convulsions represent the last alarm bell for the dog, which could die even after a few minutes.

It will therefore be important to prevent the dog from reaching this stage. If it reaches the third stage of severity of heatstroke it is recommended to alert the veterinarian and bring the dog to visit. If available, rely on a point of Veterinary First Aid.

What to do in case of heatstroke in dogs

In the first place it is necessary to maintain lucidity and think about the well-being of the animal. We will start with trying to cool the dog, thus reducing the risk of more serious damage.

If heatstroke is detected when it is already at particularly serious levels, it is necessary to contact the veterinarian trust and bring the dog on a visit. Hypothesis to be evaluated carefully if it is still very hot outside and you do not have a car with air conditioning.


How to cool down a dog in heatstroke

Ice and siberini (blocks to be frozen to keep food cold during trips out of town or drugs particularly sensitive to high temperatures) are among the primary choices, together with alcohol.

Wet with cloths soaked in cold water e alcohol the dog, applying ice or siberini (not in contact, always wrapped in a cloth) between the hind legs, the front ones and on the torso. It is also useful to wet the dog’s tongue with cold water alone, without however forcing it to drink.

Proceed with cooling down until your body temperature has dropped back to within 38 degrees. If you do not have an air conditioner inside theauto it may not be advisable to move with it when it is hot outside, otherwise it risks further fueling the heat stroke.

In this case, alert your veterinarian and ask for one if possible home visit. Another alternative is to place a good number of siblings on the animal and try to ventilate the cockpit as much as possible.


Given the danger of heat stroke in dogs, it is undoubtedly recommended to act in advance, preferring the prevention to cure. This is possible both by avoiding risky situations and by putting into practice suitable behaviors to safeguard the health of the animal. A correct interpretation of the first alarm bells will certainly offer valuable help.

What to do if the dog is panting in the heat?

We often ask ourselves: what to do if the dog is panting in the heat? Let’s say that it is a good idea not to underestimate this function a priori just because it is normal. Breathing with open mouth is still a symptom of perceived heat, even when not yet at pathological levels.

In these cases it is important to distinguish between simple open mouth breathing and rapid breathing. If the latter occurs, it is possible that it is one of the first symptoms of heatstroke.

When that happens try not to lead the dog in sunny or particularly hot places, in order to prevent the situation from deteriorating. It is also recommended to offer him some water and lightly wet his head and body.

Heatstroke in dogs, general advice

Heatstroke in dogs is a treacherous problem that needs to be treated promptly. Clinical worsening can be rapid in the absence of targeted interventions cooling of the animal. Let’s see some general tips.

At the sea or at the lake it could be useful to immerse the dog in water, taking care to avoid that the muzzle and ears end up in the water. When bringing your pet with you, you should always keep yours in mind needs e i risks that excessive heat can bring.

Always prepare some shaded areas where the dog can cool off, as well as bring siblings with him and what is necessary to proceed, if necessary, to a first cooling operation.

Finally, it is important to note that excessive agitation of the dog could represent one of the first symptoms of heat stroke. Before scolding the animal, try to understand if it is such behavior may be the first alarm bell of this dangerous problem.

Source: GreenStyle by www.greenstyle.it.

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