5 Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs

5 Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs

By Brittany Morgan

Okanagan summers are HOT. With temperatures regularly exceeding 30°C, many of us are well aware of the risks of heat stroke in humans. But did you know that your dog is susceptible to heat stroke as well? Heat stroke in dogs has the potential to be fatal, so it is essential to be able to recognize the symptoms. 

5 Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs

  • Excessive panting or drooling 

Panting is a common way dogs cool themselves down. However, if they seem to be panting or drooling excessively very early in their walk, or they continue to pant for long after they have escaped the heat, it may indicate heat stroke.

  • Vomiting or diarrhea 

There are various reasons a dog might experience vomiting or diarrhea. Heat stroke may be the cause if the dog has recently been exposed to high temperatures, such as a hot vehicle or a walk in the sun.

  • Weakness or lethargy 

A lethargic dog will appear unusually calm and dazed. He/she may be sleeping more than usual, and not get excited when you grab their favorite toy or treat. They could also experience a loss of appetite.

  • Tremors or seizures 

Your dog may be shaking as if they are scared or cold. Seizures are also a sign of heat stroke, where your dog might fall on its side and become stiff, with their muscles twitching or jerking.

  • Poor coordination

Your dog may become unable to walk or stand, appearing to be dizzy and falling over.

What can you do if you think your dog has heat stroke?

  • Immediately seek a more cooling area with shade or air conditioning.Use cool (not ice cold) water to cool the dog down by dabbing it with a moist towel. Allow them to drink cool water if desired.Take your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible. 
  • How can you prevent your dog from getting heat stroke?
  • If left outside in warmer weather, ensure that your dog has access to water and shade.

How To Lower The Risk Of Heat Stroke

  • Never leave your dog in a warm vehicle. 
  • If taking your dog for a walk, be aware of how your dog is acting. If he/she is walking slower than usual? Are they panting heavily after a short period of time? If so, it is likely too hot for your dog to be walking. Instead, try to walk your dog in the early morning or later in the evening when the temperature is cooler.
  • You could also exercise your dog by taking them for a swim in the lake or playing with a sprinkler in the backyard instead!
  • Recognize that senior dogs, puppies, obese dogs, or dogs with short snouts (Pugs, Bulldogs, Shih Tzu’s, etc.) are more prone to heat stroke than other breeds, and therefore require extra care in warm weather. 

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