Canine Heat Stroke

Heat Brutality – Heatstroke


Every summer it happens. People go off into the malls or stop “briefly” in a grocery store. They have just stepped away from the car for a “minute.” This would be fine, but they leave behind their dog. He or she is left sitting as the temperature in the vehicle rises. The ultimate result may well be heatstroke and  a dead dog.

Causal Factors of Heatstroke

One point to always remember is this. Your dog does not have the same type of cooling system as a human. They do not sweat to relieve themselves of the buildup of internal heat. Their skin cannot release the heat and adjust the body’s temperature. The only way they can restore the norm is to pant. If the temperature rises more quickly than they are able to adjust, the dog will suffer from heatstroke.

Heat prostration, heat exhaustion or heatstroke occurs when the temperature of your canine companion rises above 106?F. If it reaches higher than 107?F, your dog will die. It happens quickly. Your dog can go into organ failure and die within 20 minutes.

Heatstroke can result from a number of things. All have to do with overheating your dog and placing too much stress on his cooling mechanism. Common causes are the following

  • Playing too hard on hot and humid days
  • Working too hard on hot and humid days
  • Leaving your dog confined in a hot car without proper ventilation
  • Leaving your dog in a hot home or overheated kennel without proper ventilation – You have to remember that a car is nothing but a tin box. On even a moderately sunny day, with temperatures in the 70s, the interior of your car can heat up quickly. The temperature will ride to reach unsafe levels for your dog.
  • Leaving your dog in a crate when the temperatures are high

Symptoms For Heatstroke

The symptoms for heatstroke are progressive. They increase in intensity until the animal collapses. The list below provides you with the signs of heat prostration. They may vary somewhat according to the place of onset.

  • Constant panting
  • If you are running or out on a walk, the animal will begin to lag behind consistently. He or she will be unable to keep up with the pace you have set.
  • The heart is beating rapidly in disproportion to the actual exercise or activity.
  • The animal is displaying visible signs of respiratory problems. He or she is not merely panting but having trouble taking in any air. Coming from the lungs is a roaring noise.
  • The dog becomes weak. The dog is unsteady on his her feet.
  • The gums are pale.
  • The animal may be extremely thirsty or have no thirst at all.
  • There may be excessive salivation.
  • There is a decrease in mental awareness and acuity.
  • The urine may be concentrated becoming a dark yellow in appearance. It could also be discolored, coming out a dark red.
  • Collapse. If your dog collapses from heatstroke the onset is well-advanced.


The best thing you can do is get the animal to the vet immediately. He or she will require intravenous fluids. If this is not possible, remove the animal into a cool place. You can also spray the dog with a hose. Do not use cold water. This may actually contradict the intent.  Use cool water.


While all dogs are susceptible to heatstroke some breeds are more than others. This includes those with brachycephatic noses, e.g., pugs, boxers, bulldogs and thick double coats. Your dog may also be more apt to suffer heatstroke if he or she has a heart condition or is severely overweight.

You should never have to take your dog in suffering from a case of heatstroke. It is easily preventable. Never leave your dog in a hot car. Never over exercise your dog for long in hot weather. Always provide your dog with shade and water.

Information provided by Kevin Spears – for additional dog  training articles by Kevin, check out additional topics on dog clothes & dog  training skills.