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Heatstroke in Dogs

Heatstroke in Dogs

Here, our Richmond vets explain what heatstroke in dogs is and provide a list of symptoms that you should watch out for,  recommendations on how to prevent it, and what to do if your dog is suffering from heatstroke.

What is Heatstroke in Dogs?

Heatstroke, a.k.a. heat exhaustion, is a serious and potentially fatal issue. When a dog’s body temperature goes above its normal range of 101.5°F, hyperthermia can occur.

A heatstroke is a form of hyperthermia. When your dog's body temperature rises past 104°F, they are in danger. If body temperature is above 105°F, this indicates heatstroke.

Causes of Heatstroke in Dogs

People leaving their dogs in the car is sadly a common cause of heatstroke in dogs. On summer days, a vehicle's temperature can quickly exceed dangerous levels. Leave the dog at home while you shop. The results of leaving the dog in the car are either a dying dog or someone calling the authorities, having them smash in your window to save your dog and getting your dog confiscated.

A lack of access to water and shade in your backyard or at the beach can also put your dog at risk for heatstroke. Shade and water are vital on warm weather days.

Your dog's breed could also be a contributing factor when it comes to heatstroke. If your dog is sporting a thick coat they can have more issues with overheating.

Heatstroke Symptoms in Dogs

During the warmer months, watch carefully for signs of heatstroke in dogs including any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Collapsing or loss of consciousness
  • Diarrhea
  • Mental “dullness” or flatness
  • Red gums
  • Excessive panting
  • Signs of discomfort
  • Unable or unwilling to move (or uncoordinated movement)
  • Vomiting

If your dog is displaying any of the above heatstroke symptoms it's time to take action.

What To Do If Your Dog Shows Signs of Heatstroke

 Immediately take them to a cooler place with good air circulation if you notice your dog displaying any symptoms listed above. If symptoms do not improve quickly , contact your vet immediately for advice. 

Take your dog’s temperature if you have access to a rectal thermometer.

If their temperature is above 104°F, this qualifies as an emergency and your dog will need to see a vet.

If this temperature is above 105°F, immediately hose or sponge your dog’s body with cool (not cold) water. Contact your vet or your nearest emergency vet for further instructions.

Take your dog to a vet immediately whether you are able to reduce their temperature or not.

How to Avoid Getting Heatstroke

To help prevent your dog from getting heatstroke be very cautious about how much time your dog spends outside or in the sun during the warmer months. 

NEVER leave your dog in a car!!! We don't care if it is suppose to be only for a few minutes while you run an errand. You still DON'T LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE IN THE CAR!!!

Make sure your dog has shade and easy access to cool water.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Does your dog show the symptoms of heatstroke? Contact Broad Street Veterinary Hospital to get the help they need immediately

Looking for a new vet? We are accepting new patients! 

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