Vet Blog

Heat Stroke is No Joke

July 26, 2021

With hot summer temperatures here to stay, it's important to remember how serious this can be for our pets.

Dogs cannot regulate their temperatures by sweating the way a person can. Their body temperature can quickly elevate to life-threatening levels at heat levels that would be tolerable for us

Some increased risks of heat stroke include being outside for extended periods of time on a hot day, exercising on a hot day, or being placed in an area without ventilation like a hot car. Brachycephalic or squished face dogs have an even higher risk of developing heat stroke due to even more impaired means of heat regulation.

A dog's normal temperature is up to 102.5. Anything above this should be addressed by a veterinarian and temperatures above 106 are associated with heat stroke. This is a medical emergency and needs attention immediately. Treatment involves the reduction of the body temperature via various methods such as IV fluid therapy and external cooling.

The prognosis for heat stroke depends on how high the temperature is and for how long the animal has been in this state. Heatstroke can lead to permanent organ damage including liver or kidney failure, or blood clotting problems, and can be deadly.

Always be sure that your pets have a region of shade when outdoors and adequate water. Never leave a pet in a car unattended as temperatures can quickly rise in this unventilated space. Some symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, wobbly movements, and collapse. You can take your pet's temperature rectally to assess further. When in doubt, it is always best to have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian.