Dog Heat Stroke Symptoms

In a dog, heat stroke is a dangerous situation that requires pet owners to know the symptoms. The longer you wait to offer heat exhaustion treatment, the higher the risk of death or organ damage.

Dogs do not sweat. When their bodies heat up, they must increase their respiratory rate to expel the excess heat. When a dog cannot pant fast enough, his body temperature rises to dangerous levels causing heat exhaustion. If the dog's body temperature rises too much, heat stroke sets in.

Difference Between Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

Both heat stroke and heat exhaustion are dangerous situations for a dog. Heat exhaustion is generally the early stages where a dog is overheating, but you can remedy the situation by taking immediate action. With heat exhaustion, you work to reduce your dog's body temperature and prevent the more deadly heat stroke.

Dog heat exhaustion symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid panting
  • Skin inside the ears reddens

At this point, it is critical that you get your dog inside into a cool area, like a basement, and offer fresh water. Dampen the dog's fur with lukewarm water and allow him to air dry. This should be enough to cool the pet down stopping the dog heat symptoms signaling heat exhausion.

With dog heat stroke, not enough was done to drop the dog's temperature or care came too late. If the body temperature rises too much, organs will start shutting down. It's critical at this point to start cooling the dog down and then seek emergency veterinary care.

Dog Heat Stroke Symptoms Explained

Once dog heat stroke has set in, the dog becomes disoriented and may walk like he's drunk. Other symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Drooling
  • Dry gums
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Refusal to drink
  • Temperature of 105 degrees or higher

If you believe your dog is suffering from heat stroke, hose him down with cool water. Do not use ice cold water because that will cause the body temperature to plunge too rapidly. You will need to get the dog's body temperature down to 104 to 105 and then rush him to the vet. If a dog's temperature is allowed to remain above 105 degrees, damage to the major organs (brain, heart, kidneys, liver) occurs.

Do not dry your dog. Instead, put him into a car with air conditioning turned on and drive to your vet. Small amounts of water can be offered, but do not allow him to drink an excessive amount, that will lead to vomiting. Try to keep your dog in a sitting or standing position. One of the problems with heat stroke is that the blood begins to pool causing blot clots.

Veterinary Care for Dog Heat Stroke

Once you've pet is in a veterinarian's care, the vet will keep the dog for up to 72 hours for observation. In addition, he will test to see if any organ damage occurred. Your veterinarian also watches for signs of blood coagulation that often occurs within a day or two of the animal's heat stroke.