Dog Heat Stroke Aftercare - What Best You Can Do?

Dog Heat Stroke Aftercare – What Best You Can Do?

Share & like

During the spring months and summers, body temperature rises so much that we even encourage ourselves to go to the beach or the pool to freshen up, put on the air conditioning, or throw ourselves in the shade. In contrast, dogs can suffer a heat stroke within few minutes if left at an unfavorable temperature. To be informed about dog heat stroke aftercare is surely a priority for pet owners. Otherwise, due to dog overheating, there are chances that your dog might reach a stage that would be fatal.

Heat stroke in dogs

It is not surprising, they do not sweat and perspire to lower their temperature. They pant and with it regulate their temperature but it is a much slower process. They are also completely covered with hair, something that increases their body temperature a lot and also prevents them from cooling off as fast as humans.

Why are Dogs So Vulnerable to Heat Stroke?

Heatstroke in dogs is not a joke: between 36% and 50% of dogs that suffer a sudden rise in body temperature dies, according to an extensive study coordinated by veterinarians at the University of Minnesota ( USA.). The high summer temperatures and the difficulty of dogs to sweat and lose excess temperature explain why it is so important to know when the animal suffers heatstroke, how to help, and how to protect them from too much heat exposure.

The sweat glands of dogs are not evenly distributed all around the body as humans do. They are less and also they are concentrated mainly in the pads of their legs. What happens when the body temperature of the animal exceeds 39 ºC? Well, they stick out their tongue and pant, this is its best way to cool down and lower their body heat.

dog lay down

Dog Heat Stroke Symptoms

The symptoms of heatstroke do not usually appear until the internal temperature of the animal exceeds 42°; when sometimes it is too late, so the first warnings should be panting or watching the animal seek to cool its gut by digging in the ground or looking for some wet surface to lie down.

If you missed the first warnings, these are the symptoms that can indicate that your dog is suffering a severe heatstroke from excessive heat exposure:

•   Body temperatures are elevated above 42ºC, the normal temperature of a dog should be above 38ºC and 39ºC.

•   Increased heart rate and breathing too fast and fatigued.

•   Muscular tremors, a considerable decay of its forces.

•  The dog's skin acquires a bluish tone derived from a lack of oxygenation of the blood Cyanosis).

•  Loss of sugars and salts.

•   Small red spots of blood on the skin due to dog overheating.

•   Renal and hepatic insufficiency.

•   Hemorrhages.

•   Multi-organic failure due to abnormal increase in body temperature.

•   Altered salivation.

Video of Warning signs that Dogs are Suffering Heat Stroke

Can a Dog Survive Heat Stroke?

Even with proper care (and sometimes, with some carelessness), dogs can go into intense heat stress, generating a syndrome called heat stroke as highlighted above. This is a very serious problem. Overheating in dogs can culminate with heat exhaustion, hypotension, disseminated intravascular coagulation, acute renal failure, hepatic necrosis, and death. The use of certain medications, such as antihypertensive and diuretics, may further increase the predisposition of these animals to have this type of problem. With early detection and appropriate treatment, and regulating the body heat the survival rates can reach as high as 90%.

Heat stroke occurs when the dog cannot keep the body's temperature stable. As many animals including dogs do not have cooling systems like humans, so they tend to get overheated.

Reasons Why a Dog Can Suffer a Heat Stroke

From research, it has been deduced that one of the major causes of death from heatstroke in dogs is the fault of their owners. There are many times when we should not think that a dog is like us, as it cannot be hot and cool as quickly as we do. Some major causes of this condition include:

Leaving the Dog inside the Car when it's Hot

This is sentencing it to death. It does not matter if it's just a minute because you're going to buy bread and you parked in the second row, the chances are that the dog overheats and consequently heat exhaustion.

A car is an oven and the main cause of death in dogs due to heatstroke. Air conditioning does not affect dogs the same as humans; they need much more to lower their body temperature.

canine heat stroke
  • Leaving a Dog Tied to His House when it is Hot

This is not only torture (and something to report) but is also another leading cause of death in dogs. Some of the heat shocks and others by strangulation with their chain, trying to access more water or shade.

  • Going for a Walk in Extreme Temperatures

This is not just imprudence, but a way to torture your dog and cause it to suffer a heat stroke. You protect yourself from the sun with glasses, a hat, or putting on some shorts so as not to get hot. How about your dog? Do wait for the environment to be favorable before going for a walk so that the dog is not put under stress.

Dog Heat Stroke Aftercare

In a hot environment or on a hot day when the dog's temperature rises, It is better to go for evaporative cooling. Because immersing your dog suddenly in ice-cold water may have the opposite effect to that sought by causing peripheral vasoconstriction, which further hinders the evacuation of heat. The dog's body temperature must fall gradually, and the dog must re-hydrate and recover the sugar and salts it has lost.

Immediately after the discovery of the heatstroke, the following dog heat stroke aftercare procedures should be taken:

  • Move the animal to a cool place and do not give it directly to the sun.
  • Apply cloths soaked in cold water (not frozen) on the head, neck, belly, chest, and legs. It should not be covered with cold water towels as it constricts the blood vessels, therefore simply apply cloths or small towels.
  • Moisten its mouth with water, without forcing it to drink.
  • Take its temperature with a thermometer to see if it goes down to around 39 ° C.
  • These cooling measures must be implemented as soon as possible, even before driving the dog to a veterinarian. The goal is to reduce body temperature to subnormal values (39 to 39.5 ° C).

The use of antipyretics is contraindicated, as the rise in body temperature is not related to a febrile syndrome.


A case of heatstroke requires immediate action so we should not hesitate to take it to the veterinarian at the slightest suspicion. If this were not possible, we should focus on making the dog's core body temperature drop below 42ºC. As a measure to treat heat stroke cool water may be poured on the footpads to lower the body temperature, you may also use wet towels. It is also necessary to take the animal in a more severe form quickly to a veterinarian who will implement a shock treatment and will take care of the consequences of heat-related illness such as cerebral edema, kidney failure, heart problems, and breathing problems in older dogs.

Even if the animal has lowered the temperature, it is still not out of danger because its internal organs may be damaged. Therefore, we must take it to the veterinarian so that some blood tests tell us if all its body organs are working properly.

You May Know Also: Best Dog Insurance – How the Investment Really Save Your Sick Dog?

How Not to React to Dog Heatstroke Signs

There are actions that we should avoid in these cases:

•    We should not wrap or cover the animal with towels because the heat remains instead of going out.

•    Do not use completely frozen water to lower the temperature because it can cause damage to the brain.

•    If we have already achieved that the animal falls at 42ºC, it is not necessary to cool it more because this can cause hypothermia.

Tips to Save Your Dog from Heat Stroke

To prevent your pet from getting too hot in the summer, you should take the following precautionary measures into account:

•     Do not leave your dog closed in cars exposed to the sun, nor in very hot spaces without ventilation.

•     Always give him fresh, clean water.

•     Avoid physical exercise in the hottest hours.

•     If your dog lives outdoors, you should make sure you have a shaded area or a place where the sun does not hit directly.

•      If your dog is long-haired, take it to a canine aesthetic center to cut his hair and get fresher.

•     Let your dog bathe in dog-friendly beaches or water ponds, always under your supervision.


Hundreds of dogs are rushed to veterinary hospitals each summer because they suffer from heatstroke. They may suffer from organ failure, blood pressure may go beyond limits. Due to these factors, it is necessary that we understand all this entails and take certain precautions to prevent it as highlighted above.

little girl holding dogs paw in hot day

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long does it take a dog to recover from heatstroke?

A dog can be back to normal in a few days. It may take up to two weeks for an older dog or one with other health issues, but it will still recover eventually. 

How can I treat my dog’s heatstroke at home?

One of the biggest concerns for dog owners with dogs outside in hot weather is to keep them from overheating. Dogs can get heatstroke and it’s one of the reasons that we take precautions like not walking our dogs on any pavement where they could over-exert themselves or wear heavy sweaters when going out to cool them down, but sometimes these efforts are ineffective. Heatstroke's are more common in certain breeds such as retrievers, hounds, Rottweilers, and shepherds because they have short fur coats which lets their skin absorb all those nasty sun rays while other breeds will do better with long hair coats.

How do you know if your dog is dying from heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that affects the brain and stops it from regulating body temperature. Dogs can't sweat so they are vulnerable to this type of heat illness when temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit for prolonged periods of time. This means on days where the high reaches 90 degrees or higher, you'll want to limit your dog's outdoor activity if possible - especially in direct sunlight which will make them more likely to overheat even faster.

Dog heatstroke happens quickly, such as within ten minutes, but there may be warning signs of heatstroke in dogs that show up before total failure sets in increased heart rate and breathing; drooling saliva; vomiting after drinking water (which indicates rapid loss of fluids); staggering gait; shuttered eyes.

What are the long-term effects of heatstroke in dogs?

Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency in dogs, and it can be difficult to identify the symptoms. It typically occurs when temperatures are high and humidity levels are low. The dog may appear listless before it collapses due to heatstroke. His temperature will reach 104°F or higher, which could cause fatal damage to his organs if not treated quickly with cool water baths or ice packs without these measures, the body's internal fluids will begin causing cellular death as they overheat.

The long-term effects of heatstroke depend on how severe the condition was during its development (i.e. whether there were any noticeable symptoms). If treatment begins early enough so that no organ damage occurred, then recovery should occur fully within a few days.

Post updated :11/07/21

Disclaimer Note:

All information contained in this website is intended for informational purposes only, as I am not a veterinarian. Furthermore, the content of the website should not be understood as an appeal to ignore the instructions or advice that may be issued by your veterinary doctor.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments

Thank you so much for this article! It is so important that owners know how dangerous heat can be for their dogs. On the other side, it is kind of sad that one has to remind them every year since this should be common sense right now. But still, owners leave their dogs in cars on hot summer days, assuming it’s okay because the opened a window…


Leave a Reply: