Heat Stroke in Dogs – Prevention and First Aid

heat stroke in dogs

Heat Stroke in Dogs- Prevention and First Aid

Heat stroke is very dangerous for dogs, us humans and any other animal on the planet. Therefore it must not be underestimated. In this week’s article we will discuss and learn more about heat stroke in dogs, how to avoid it and what first aid to administer in case it happens.

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat Stroke happens when the body temperature gets elevated beyond the maximum tolerated level by the body. If not corrected quickly, heat stroke is fatal. Heat stroke affects the body’s processes and chemistry rendering the animal unable to function and leading to death.

Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs!

The symptoms of heat stroke include the following:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Vomiting
  • Collapsing

How to Prevent Heat Stroke?

It is not surprising that in order to prevent heat stroke in dogs they have to be kept cool.

Avoid the heat

The most obvious thing to do is to avoid the heat altogether. Consider walking the dog early in the morning and later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Carry plenty of water

Always carry more water than you think you will need. It is better to have more rather than ending up without.

Control the drinking.

This may not be so obvious to many, but you should always regulate the drinking of your dog especially when the dog is very hot and very thirsty. Dogs have a tendency to drink a lot of water at one go (especially when very thirsty). In reality drinking too much water at one go means that you are wasting water. Moreover if dogs drink too quickly and drink a lot of water there is a high probability that they will end up vomiting. This not only wastes water but stresses the dog. Apart from all this, it is very dangerous if dogs go for exercise / walk with a full stomach (full of water in this case). Doing so increases the chance of suffering a bloat.


If possible, you may consider altering the walking route on hot days and passing close to the beach or any body of water that the dog may go in for a dip. In this way you cool the dog after a set amount of walking time.

Get a cooling vest

A cooling vest is as the name implies, a vest that cools the dog. The basic concept of a cooling vest is that you soak it in water and put it on the dog before you go out for the walk. The cooling vest keeps the dog cool by absorbing the heat and evaporating the water contained in the specially designed fabric. The water evaporates instead of the dog absorbing the heat and feeling hot.

I have personally tried and tested cooling vests for Lucky and I can say that they really make a difference. There are many brands out there and in my opinion there is no other brand that beats the cooling vests designed by Ruffwear.

heat stroke in dogs ruffwear cooling vest
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler, Cooling Vest for Dogs

Good quality cooling vests are not cheap but you will not regret buying one for your dog. We are not affiliated with Ruffwear in any way and we have no income / incentive to promote their products. A good quality item is a good quality item!!

Heat Stroke First Aid?

Should for some reason your dog suffer a heat stroke there are some things you can do to help increase the odds of recovery.

Rush your dog to the vet immediately!

Heat stroke in dogs is a very serious thing and fatal in the majority of cases. Seek medical advice immediately. Take note of as much information as possible to help the vet treat the dog. Take note of the time when the dog went into heat stroke and how the symptoms progressed or got worse over time.

Cool down the dog on your way to the vet.

The first step for your dog to recover from heat stroke is to lower back his temperature to normal level as soon as possible.

  • Do not throw cold water on the dog as that will only panic him more and risk putting the dog in shock.
  • Apply cool water to the dog with a cloth / wet towel. Focus on the tongue, ears, neck, legs and paws as dogs radiate heat more efficiently from these parts of the body.
  • If possible while driving to the vet, turn on the AC in the car and put the vent blowing air on the dog.

The whole point is to cool the dog as quickly as possible.

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