Heat stroke in dogs: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention


The car is parked at theshadow and the windows are ajar. The situation seems to you without danger while you shop. Know that your dog can die in less than thirty minutes despite an outside temperature of 20 °. How to detect heat stroke in dogs? What first gestures of rescue bring him before driving him to the veterinary ? Our responses.

What is heat stroke in dogs?

A heat stroke corresponds to a strong rise body temperature, called hyperthermia. Body temperature normal of a dog is 38.5 °. In the event of heat stroke, it can rise above 39.5 °. When it exceeds 40.5 ° C, the dog must be led without delay to the nearest veterinarian.

How does the dog fight against excessive heat?

Heatstroke in dogs is directly related to their metabolism because unlike humans, they do not or very little sweat, and only through their pads. Thus, breathing plays a vital role as the animal exhales air laden with water vapor and inhales cooler air to keep itself. cool. In the event of a hot and humid outside temperature, there is no further exchange possible and the organism cannot cool itself down. Their body nevertheless strives to to regulate its internal temperature using mechanisms to fight against high heat:

  • A vasodilatation. This process causes the diameter of the blood vessels to increase in order to facilitate heat exchange with the ambient air;
  • A increase frequency respiratory expels excess heat. This reaction has its limits in an environment loaded with humidity such as the interior of a car.

Excessive heat control mechanisms require a lot of energy and place heavy demands on the heat. heart of the animal, hence the occurrence of serious consequences.

What are the causes of heat stroke in dogs?

Heat stroke most often occurs in summer in the following cases:

  • A dog is shut in in a car. Warning, a few minutes may be sufficient to raise the animal’s body temperature. Leaving the vehicle in the shade with the window ajar is always a danger because the sun turns and the habitable can quickly reach 50 °;
  • For a long path in a car, a dog can suffer heatstroke in the back of a station wagon because the open windows in the front fail to cool theback of the vehicle ;
  • A physical effort intense or prolonged by high heat;
  • Wearing a muzzle nylon is also likely to cause heatstroke because this accessory keeps the dog’s mouth closed and thus prevents it from gasp. Its use must therefore remain punctual and of short duration during hot periods.

Are there any dogs predisposed to heat stroke?

The puppies, dogs sick (cardiac subjects, with pulmonary pathology, overweight) or aged may have more difficulty regulating body temperature than their healthy adult counterparts. Some breeds with short muzzles and dishes (brachycephalic) like the boxer, the bulldog, the pug or the Pekingese also tolerate heat less well than others. Dogs with dense coats and thick (Newfoundland, Briard, Collie, etc.) are also sensitive to high temperatures. It should be noted that each dog wears a coat that keeps him warm in all seasons and that he has few glands sweat. Therefore, all are susceptible to heat stroke.

What are the signs of heat stroke in dogs?

Heat stroke in dogs is a condition ofemergency vital which manifests itself in various reactions:

  • An increase in frequency respiratory (polypnea), resulting in gasping and hyper salivation;
  • An unusual posture that alternates between commotion, a state of depression and general weakness (asthenia);
  • A decrease in vigilance and difficulties motor that cause a shaky or wobbly gait and coordination problems (ataxia);
  • Fainting, the onset of seizures or vomiting.

What are the consequences of heat stroke for the dog?

Without treatment, heatstroke can leave sequelae irreversible depending on the duration of the episode and the organs affected:

  • Congestion cerebral caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the dog’s brain;
  • Disorders of the coagulation ;
  • A deficiency renal acute;
  • Fiber destruction muscular ;
  • A disturbance of the rhythm cardiac.

These different disorders can lead to dead of the dog up to 48 hours after the heat stroke. For this reason, it is imperative to present the animal to a veterinarian even if it does not show signs. serious.

What to do in case of heat stroke in dogs?

Of the first symptoms of heat stroke (rapid gasping, hyper salivation, staggering gait …) and while waiting for instructions from your veterinarian:

  • Immediately place your animal in a cool place;
  • Offer him cool water to rehydrate him;
  • Apply a cool, damp cloth to its body, insisting on its paws and stomach;
  • Shower it with cool water. Above all, do not use ice cream or very cold water, as the dog may experience a shock thermal;
  • If you can, take his temperature with a thermometer rectal in order to communicate it to your veterinarian.

What care will the veterinarian provide?

Heat stroke in dogs is a emergency, you will have to drive your animal as quickly as possible to your veterinarian by cooling your car using the air conditioner. Upon arrival at the doctor, the dog will be placed under infusion cooled, a more effective method than external cooling for lowering body temperature. The professional will also administer medical treatment to him in order to remedy any sequelae brain, blood, kidney, muscle or heart caused by heat stroke. A monitoring may be needed.

How to prevent heat stroke in dogs?

Prevention of heat stroke in dogs is simple to implement. You will always have to take care to:

  • Do not lock up your pet in a car when it is hot. Even if the windows are ajar, the sky overcast and the ambient air temperate, the passenger compartment can quickly overheat;
  • Light the air conditioner during a long drive and take the dog out every two hours with fresh water in a shady area. The trade offers carpets refreshing that you can install it on the seat of your vehicle;
  • Avoid him a activity physical too intense during hot weather. When you go out, stop occasionally in the shade and in the cool. Give preference to walks during the hours less hot of the day ;
  • Always put the water available, whether in the car or during walks with the help of a bottle of cold water and a container or a gourd for dog.