How Do I know If My Dog Has Heat Stroke?

Written By: Caitlin Perna

Dehydration, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke in Dogs

Having an active and social dog is always exciting when summer rolls around. I want to take my pup everywhere! However, it can be easy to miss this signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion in your dog if you aren’t paying attention.

To start, make note if any of these pets below relate to you! You’ll want to pay extra attention in the summer sun.

heatstroke in dogs

Signs of Dehydration

  • Panting
  • Dry gums/nose
  • Thick saliva
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of skin elasticity (lightly pinch the skin between your dogs shoulder blades- if it doesn’t “snap” back into place they are dehydrated)

At this stage, letting your dog rest in some shade and drink some water should be enough. Their body can cool down naturally. If you have something like Pedialyte or electrolyte-enhanced water, you can give them some of that as well.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Stroke

Along with all of the above signs…

  • Gastrointestinal upset (vomiting/diarrhea)
  • Excessive drooling
  • High heart rate* (more than 100 beats per minute while dog is resting)
  • Loss of balance/coordination or change in personality

Advanced Signs…

  • White or Blue Gums
  • Lethargy/unwillingness to move
  • Uncontrolled urinations or defecation
  • Labored, noisy breathing
  • Shock

*to check your dog’s heart rate put your hand on the inside of their bag leg mid-thigh and count for 15 seconds them multiply by 4

What To Do If Your Dog Is Showing Any of These Signs

Get your dog to shade and spray them with cool water or use towels on their belly, armpits, and paw pads. Do not use cold/ice water because that could cause hypothermia. Try to get them to drink water and if you cannot get their temperature to around 100-102 degrees bring your dog to the vet immediately.

If your dog does not get proper care it could cause seizures, brain damage, kidney failure, multiple organ dysfunction, and even death. The best way to to protect your dog against heat exhaustion is by prevention: take breaks in the shade, have plenty of water, avoid peak times of the day.

To learn more read our other blog here.

Stay safe this summer! Let us know if you have any fun activities you like to do with your dog.