How to Determine if Your Dog Has Heatstroke

Dog heat stroke

Heatstroke not only affects humans, it affects animals like dogs as well.  During hot and humid days, it is important to keep an eye on our pup’s body temperature because hyperthermia can be really dangerous to them.  Once the body temperature of a dog is over 103 0 F or 39 0 C, they are vulnerable to having a heatstroke.  A non-fever hyperthermia, heatstroke occurs without signs of inflammation.

We don’t see a dog sweat because they don’t perspire the way humans do.  Dogs’ only sweat glands are located on the pads of their feet.  Panting is a way that canines cool themselves.  Another way that they cool themselves is through convection, a process in which an exchange of temperature occurs and cools the skin.  Both cooling processes will not work if the surrounding air is not cooler than the dog’s body temperature.  An example is a pup inside a hot and enclosed car.  Since the car is enclosed the surrounding air is hotter than the dog’s body temperature which usually leads to heatstroke.

Determining if your dog has a heatstroke isn’t that hard.  Signs and symptoms of heatstroke include: excessive panting, weakness, increased heart rate, dizziness, excessive drooling, bright red tongue, red or pale gums, diarrhea and vomiting.

If you noticed any of the above signs and symptoms in your dog, keep them cool and contact your vet.  But don’t cool your pup too fast by using cold water because it will drive their body temperature low, lower than normal, which can cause other health issues.

You can prevent your dogs from having heatstroke by making sure that they are cool during hot and humid days, provide an easy access to water at all times, wetting them with a cool water to cool their body temperature down to normal, avoiding hot places with no shade like the beach and restrict any exercise during hot days.

Dogs that belong to brachycephalic breeds are more susceptible to heatstroke.  So if you pooch is long-hair, short-nosed and flat-faced make sure to keep them cool and comfy.  Heatstroke normally affects young dogs more than senior dogs.

We believe that prevention is better than cure.  So keep your pups safe all the time.

Image via T.Fernandes at

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