Heat Stroke First Aid for Dogs

A heat stroke may happen if the dog is exposed to high temperatures and may be a fatal condition. As a dog owner you should be able to know heat stroke first aid basics to prevent complications or death. It is also helpful to prevent heat strokes.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Knowing how to recognize the symptoms of a heat stroke can be helpful for you so that you can apply the first aid procedures.

Watch out for symptoms such as:

  • Rapid and superficial breathing
  • Fast heart beat
  • Drooling
  • Pale or bluish gums
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures or coma in more extreme cases

These symptoms will be displayed following exercise in heat or while the dog stays in the sun or in a confined and overheated space such as car, crate or doghouse.

What You Need

If the dog gets a heat stroke you will need a few towels that are soaked in cold water. You may also get a bit of ice.

Get a fan and place the dog close to it.

Have the address and phone number of the vet at hand, as you will need to visit him as well.

Cool the Dog

The very first thing you need to do is to remove the dog from the overheated space. Take him into shade and get a few towels or compresses soaked in cold water, applying these on the dog’s back and face. Meanwhile, start the fan to cool the dog.

Don’t apply ice directly on the dog, as the ice may cause blood vessel constriction and will not allow the heat to evaporate and the dog may be even warmer.

You may wrap ice in a towel and apply the towel on the dog’s limbs and the groin area. This will have a cooling effect.

Hydrate the Dog

You should also make sure your dog gets plenty of fresh water, which will help him cool down.

A heat stroke may cause dehydration, so administering water is crucial.

Monitor Temperature

After applying the cold compresses you should check the dog’s temperature, to make sure he won’t get too cold. The dog may easily develop hypothermia. Take the temperature anally, as this will be more accurate.

Visit the Vet

After the dog’s temperature is stabilized, you should get to the nearest vet, to make sure your dog hasn’t been affected. A heat stroke may affect the brain or cause additional complications, so a veterinary checkup is essential.

Don’t wrap the dog in a towel, as this may stop the heat from evaporating. Don’t put the dog in the crate, as he may overheat again. Put him beside you in the car and start the air conditioning.

The vet will assess the dog’s condition and recommend you possible medications and give you care tips for after you get home.

Prevent future heat strokes by keeping your dog in the shade and avoiding exercise in the heat.