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Heat Stroke...Do You Know the Signs?

Recognizing the Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs

Do you know how to recognize the signs of heat stroke in your pets?  Summer is here and temperatures are rising.  Now is the time to make sure you understand the signs of heat stroke in your dog and how to prevent it from happening.  Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat out excess body heat.  Dogs have a few sweat glands located in their paws, but these do little to help them regulate their body temperature.  A dog’s primary way of regulating body temperature is by panting.  Heat stroke is the term used for when a pet’s body temperature reaches above 103⁰F.  When a dog’s body temperature reaches around 107⁰F to 109⁰F, multiple organ failure and impending death occurs.

Preventing Overheating and Heat Stroke in a Dog:

  • Do not leave them in a hot car; even with the windows down.

  • Do not leave them in a yard without access to shade or water on hot days.

  • Do not leave them exposed to a hair dryer for an extended period of time.

  • Avoid excessive or vigorous exercise, including long walks, during hot temperatures.

Dogs at Higher Risk of Overheating and Heat Stroke

Dogs with restricted airways, such as pugs, boxers, and bulldogs, are at a greater risk for heat stroke, even at moderately elevated temperatures.  Having a dog muzzled can also increase the risk of heat stroke since their ability to pant is restricted.  Overweight dogs and highly active dogs, such as hunting dogs, can also have a higher risk of heat stroke. 

The following are signs of heat stroke that owners should be aware of:

  • Excessive panting

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • Gums or tongue turn bright red or blue

  • Glazed eyes and excessive drooling

  • Disoriented

What to do if you recognize signs of overheating:

If you recognize any of these signs from your dog during a hot day, immediate care is necessary.  Immediately move your dog to a cooler area and call our office at 812-246-6146.  It is also important to begin cooling your pet down with wet clothes on his neck, armpits, and between his hind legs. 

Of course, the best cure is prevention.  Keep your pet safe this summer by following the recommendations above to prevent heat stroke.  If you have any questions on preventing heat stroke, please call our office at 812-246-6146.


Dr. Marty Becker, D. (2013, May 17). /dr-marty-becker/heatstroke-summer-days-can-turn-deadly-quickly-for-overheated-dogs. Retrieved from VetStreet: http://www.vetstreet.com

Katy Nelson, D. (2019, July 6). petmd.com/dog/conditions/cardiovascular/c_dg_heat_stroke?page=show. Retrieved from PetMD: http://www.petmd.com


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