Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

Did you know that dogs do not perspire the same way humans do? In fact, the only sweat glands they have are on the pads of their feet. Instead of sweating, dogs use panting to cool themselves down and also a process called convection. Convection involves the contact with air movement to help cool down your pet and help reduce heat. Like when your dog sticks his head out of the car window. Chances are they are enjoying the air flowing through their coat. Both panting and convection cool the body by exchanging the warm body temperature for the cooler air surrounding them. If the air around them is not cooler than their current body temperature – for example, a hot, stuffy car- the process of cooling themselves down cannot work properly and heatstroke can occur.

What are the signs of heatstroke in dogs?

According to Hannah Frey, our current Wellness Coordinator with three years of experience as a Veterinary Technician, signs of heatstroke to lookout for can include:dog lying in grass

  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Excessive Panting
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Vomiting
  • Signs of Dehydration

What to do if your dog gets heatstroke?

First, remove your dog from the heat immediately. Cool your dog down with cool wet towels (for small dogs, use lukewarm water), then cool them down with air movement preferably using a fan or air conditioning unit. Be mindful not to use too cold of water as it may lower their temperature too quickly and constrict blood flow, which will actually inhibit the body from cooling. If possible, use a rectal thermometer to check your dog’s internal body temperature. Once the internal body temperature reaches 103°F, the cooling should be stopped and your dog should be dried thoroughly. As an important precaution, take your dog to your local veterinarian for an examination to be sure no other complications or issues are present.

What we do to prevent heatstroke

Here, at Wagsworth Manor, we take all of the necessary steps and precautions so to prevent heatstroke. We offer kiddie pools, water misters in our play yard, air conditioned suites, and an indoor pool to help your pet stay cool. Our staff is trained to identify early signs of heatstroke. We make sure dogs have plenty of shade when playing outside and access to water at all times. We strive to ensure the safety of all our furry friends to make their stay a wonderful and happy experience.