Heat Exhaustion And HeatStroke

Heat Exhaustion And HeatStroke

Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke is very dangerous and can cause death. Most dogs have few sweat glands to cool them, so they control their body temperature by panting. As the dog pants, the body loses heat through evaporation from the mouth. If the body cannot disperse heat quickly enough, the dog’s temperature can rise to a dangerous level.

Heatstroke can develop in only a few minutes, with the body temperature rising to 108° F or higher. A dog with heatstroke can die if he is not cared for immediately.

Heat stroke is an emergency and requires immediate treatment. Because dogs do not sweat (except to a minor degree through their foot pads), they do not tolerate high environmental temperatures as well as humans do. Dogs depend upon panting to exchange warm air for cool air. But when air temperature is close to body temperature, cooling by panting is not an efficient process.

Heat stroke begins with heavy panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue and mucous membranes appear bright red. The saliva is thick and tenacious, and the dog often vomits. The rectal temperature rises to 104° F to 110° F (40° to 43.3° C). The dog becomes progressively unsteady and passes bloody diarrhea. As shock sets in, the lips and mucous membranes turn gray. Collapse, seizures, coma, and death rapidly ensue.

Common situations where heat stroke in dogs can occur include:

  • ~Being left in a car in hot weather!
  • ~Exercising strenuously in hot, humid weather!
  • ~Being a brachycephalic breed, especially a Bulldog, Pug, or Pekingese.
  • ~Suffering from a heart or lung disease that interferes with efficient breathing.
  • ~Being muzzled while put under a hair dryer.
  • ~Suffering from a high fever or seizures!
  • ~Being confined on concrete or asphalt surfaces .
  • ~Being confined without shade and fresh water in hot water.
  • ~Having a history of heat stroke.


Emergency measures to cool the dog must begin at once. Move the dog out of the source of heat, preferably into an air-conditioned building. Take his rectal temperature every 10 minutes. Mild cases may be resolved by moving the dog into a cool environment.

If the rectal temperature is above 104° F, begin rapid cooling by spraying the dog with a garden hose or immersing him in a tub of cool water (not ice water) for up to two minutes. Alternatively, place the wet dog in front of an electric fan. Cool packs applied to the groin area may be helpful, as well as wiping his paws off with cool water. Monitor his rectal temperature and continue the cooling process until the rectal temperature falls below 103° F (39° C). At this point, stop the cooling process and dry the dog. Further cooling may induce hypothermia and shock.

Following an episode of heat stroke, take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Dogs are much more susceptible to heat than we are. Every year, many dogs become ill or even die as a result of heat exhaustion. To prevent heatstroke during warm weather, NEVER leave your dog in a car, always exercise him/her during the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler, and always provide plenty of fresh water. If your dog is outside during the day, be sure the doghouse or other shelter has plenty of shade and is cool during the hottest part of the day.

Signs of Heatstroke:

  • ~Anxious expression
  • ~Collapse
  • ~High fever (104°F or higher)
  • ~Loud panting
  • ~Rapid breathing
  • ~Rapid heartbeat
  • ~Refusal to obey commands
  • ~Staggering
  • ~Staring
  • ~Vomiting
  • ~Warm, dry skin

If you suspect heatstroke, call the closest emergency veterinarian to let the staff know you are on the way. Immediately lower your dog’s body temperature by the ways we already talked about.

Dogs and Cars

NEVER leave your pet in the car, even if it's just for a "quick errand!" This is very dangerous, even on days that are only mildly warm. If you see a pet locked in a car, please call local animal authorities immediately, you may save a life!

The dog days of summer can be dangerous for dogs — especially those dogs left inside hot cars. Every year, countless dogs die after being locked in cars while their guardians work, visit, shop, or run other errands. These tragic deaths are entirely preventable.

Have you ever noticed how hot it can get inside a car on a summer day — far hotter than it is outside? That's because a car acts like a greenhouse, trapping the sun's heat.

A study by the Animal Protection Institute showed that even moderately warm temperatures outside can quickly lead to deadly temperatures inside a closed car.

The study, conducted during a local heat wave, compared an outside temperature of a shaded area with the inside of an automobile in three states: fully closed, with four windows cracked, and with two windows cracked. Inside temperatures were measured with an indoor/outdoor thermometer and an oven thermometer (both readings are given). All temperatures use the Fahrenheit scale.

Day 1

Outside Temperature Inside Closed Automobile
Indoor/Ourdoor Oven Thermometer
9:00 am 82° 109° ---
9:30 am 87° 115° ---
10:00 am 91° 115° ---
10:30 am 94° 114° 115°
11:00am 98° 114° 119°
11:30 am 100° 117° 124°
12:00 pm 101° 119° 127°
1:30 pm 112° 124° 130°
2:30 pm 125° 130+° 159°
4:00 pm 98° 110° 110°

Day 2

Outside Temperature Inside Auto - 4 Windows Cracked
Indoor/Outdoor Oven Thermometer
9:15 am 84° 98° 98°
10:00 am 88° 103° 105°
10:30 am 90° 108° 108°
11:00 am 92° 109° 109°
12:00 pm 95° 113° 113°
1:00 pm 101° 114° 115°
2:00 pm 110° 123° 120°
3:40 pm 112° 129° 128°
4:00 pm 115° 132° 130°

Day 3

Outside Temperature Inside Auto - 2 Windows Cracked
Indoor/Outdoor Oven Thermometer
8:30 am 72° 72° 72°
9:30 am 80° 95° 95°
12:00 pm 88° 105° 105°
1:50 pm 99° 109° 109°
2:30 pm 104° 120° 120°

What should people do if they see a dog in a hot car?

  • * If the dog looks distressed (see above Signs of Heatstroke), call the police, the local animal control agency or 911 right away.
  • * Leave your name and phone number with the person who takes the call in case the responding officers need more information.
  • * Go inside the nearest business(es) and ask the manager to make an announcement.


Exposure to excessive heat causes the body’s cells to stop working properly and release dangerous chemicals, which can lead to nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage and even death. Essentially, all of the dog’s organ systems shut down at once.

Hot cars are death traps for dogs!

Resources:Leaving a dog in a hot car is dangerous and often deadly. Visit MyDogIsCool.com to learn more.

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Signs a dog is suffering from a heat-related illness include:

  • o Excessive panting
  • o Excessive drooling
  • o Increased heart rate
  • o Trouble breathing
  • o Disorientation
  • o Collapse or loss of consciousness
  • o Seizure
  • o Respiratory arrest

~Kittys Corner~

I have a Female Great Dane and her name is Kitty. She will be 2 in July '10. Her mother is a Blue Dane and her dad is a Black Dane. This is a picture of her here and there are lots of pictures of her on this website. This space is called Kittys Corner because when ever I am at my computer working (which is most of the time) Kitty is laying or sitting beside me with her head on my lap. So I made her a corner so she can voice what is going on in her world. ~Enjoy~

The weather is so warm and sunny. I was getting tired of the cold and being stuck in the house. Now mom has been back taking me on our walks I missed our walks. Have you been doing anything fun lately? Will you send me your pictures so I can see them? Mom even said something about starting a contest. How fun! So start taking some pictures, or if you already have some, send them in so I can see them. Send in a Picture

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