Heat stroke occurs in any warm-blooded animal who is exposed to high temperatures. This condition is especially dangerous for dogs, who cannot communicate to their owners that they’re hot or not feeling well. Very old and very young dogs are particularly prone to overheating. Heat stroke is a treatable problem.

The Facts–Heat Stroke

  • According to PetWave, heat stroke occurs when a dog’s body is absorbing more heat than it can release. Internal temperature climbs and quickly reaches a level that disrupts normal body function. The resulting heat stroke has serious repercussions, and can cause damage to muscles, organs and metabolism.


  • Dogs exhibit restlessness and discomfort as they begin to overheat. They may start panting and asking for water as their body recognizes the problem. Other symptoms include drooling, foaming at the mouth, dry mouth and labored breathing. Dogs with advanced heat stroke move on to vomiting, diarrhea, confusion and seizures. Heat stroke culminates in collapse and can be fatal if untreated.


  • Heat stroke almost always occurs as a result of exposure to excessive temperature. Instead of passing heat through the body and releasing it through the normal processes, the dog’s body stores the heat. Common causes include hot environments, little to no ventilation, moving quickly from a cool environment to a warm one, and vigorous exercise.


  • Prevent heat stroke by watching your dog carefully and managing any hot situation. spray dogs with cool water when they’re in warm temperatures, and stop to rest in the shade often. Spread alcohol on a dog’s foot pads or armpits for quick cooling (alcohol evaporates quickly to dissipate heat).


  • Treatment for heat stroke requires hospitalization. Vets give dogs intravenous injections of room-temperature fluids to bring down their core temperature, and seek to re-hydrate the dog with an electrolyte solution. They may also administer oxygen through a mask to ease the dog’s breathing. Treatments last from hours to days, and are usually successful if the heat stroke is caught quickly.