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How To Treat Heatstroke In Dogs

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How To Treat Heatstroke In Dogs

During the summer months it's not just us that feel the rising temperatures, our pets are also sensitive to the heat. Intensive exercise or even just a few minutes waiting in the car without sufficient ventilation are enough for the heat to get to our dogs - it can even kill them. At the first signs of heatstroke in dogs it is important to react quickly and start treatment. At OneHowTo we tell you how to know what to do if your dog suffers from heatstroke.

You may also be interested in: How to Cool Down a Dog in the Summer

Steps to follow:


Dogs are very sensitive to heat for a reason: they do not sweat, so they cannot remove heat from their skin in the same way that we do. In the case of some breeds, a few minutes of intense temperatures is sufficient to produce heat stroke, leading to death.

Brachycephalic dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, boxers, Shih Tzus or Pekingese are more prone to heat stroke because their nostrils are smaller and they have breathing difficulties.

How To Treat Heatstroke In Dogs - Step 1

For the breeds most prone to heatstroke, it is important to avoid walks during the hottest hours of the day, however short they are, and avoid leaving them in enclosed spaces such as cars and poorly ventilated or small rooms. It is also important to remember that large breeds can also suffer from heat stroke so you should follow the same precautions and learn to recognize the warning signs.

The main symptoms of heat stroke in dogs are:

  • Difficulty in breathing that can be seen with the naked eye.
  • Excessive salivation.
  • Discoloured tongue due to dehydration.
  • Vomiting.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Their skin can turn blue from loss of oxygen in the blood.
  • Awkward movements, the dog staggers and looks weak. In more acute cases, loss of consciousness occurs.

If your dog suffers from heat stroke, the most important thing is to Act Fast to cool down and stabilize the animal before taking it to the vet. Start moving your pet to a shady and well ventilated spot that is cool to offer first aid before being transferred to a specialist.


Wet their body with fresh water, especially its head, if possible wet a cloth and apply it to this area for a few seconds and then remove. It is very important that you wet your dog with fresh water but never too cold or icy. This is because of the risk that rather than help the animal this could significantly worsen symptoms as excessive cold will close the pores of their skin, preventing the heat from escaping - for this reason you should also avoid putting ice on their skin.


It is very important that when you are treating heat stroke in dogs you offer them fresh drinking water in order to encourage hydration. If the dog is too weak to drink then it is recommended that you offer them ice cubes to lick, as this will help to slowly hydrate them.


While you offer water and hydration to the animal, you can help ventilate their body by passing your hands through their fur and lifting it up so that air can pass through more easily, cooling them down. This is especially useful in breeds with long and thick hair.

If the animal can move to a room with air conditioning do so immediately, as this will help to cool them down much faster. If this isn't possible, attempt to place a fan near the dog to speed up their recovery.


Wait for your pet to stabilize before taking them to the vet to confirm that they are OK. If your dog has lost consciousness immediately go to a specialist for emergency care. On the way you have to keep the car at a cool temperature or it could get worse.

Remember that heat stroke in dogs is a major emergency so it is crucial to act quickly to ensure their recovery.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Treat Heatstroke In Dogs, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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How To Treat Heatstroke In Dogs