top of page

Heat stroke: how to react?

With the high temperatures of summer, we have to think of our companions.

When we decide to take them with us for the holidays or to go for a walk, for example, it is very important to bring water and also to think about the floor covering which can be hot (sand, tar, tiles...) and more than uncomfortable or even dangerous for their pads.

When we are in the car, there is no question of leaving them inside for a race, however short, even if the vehicle is in the shade and even if the windows are open.

The temperature inside the vehicle rises very quickly, by 10 degrees every 10 minutes or so.

The so-called “normal” body temperature of a dog is 38.5° C.

We speak of heat stroke when this temperature exceeds 38.5° C and this can occur more or less quickly depending on genetic and morphological predispositions, depending on the health and age of the dog.

This phenomenon results in an accumulation of heat in the body and a saturation of the regulation mechanisms; the dog regulates its temperature by panting but also thanks to the sweat glands located at the level of the foot pads; in other words, a limited capacity for regulation.

We often talk about dogs locked in a car in the sun, but heatstroke can also occur following intense physical exercise in direct sunlight and for a long time.

Some so-called “brachycephalic” breeds (the French Bulldog or the Persian) are at a disadvantage in this situation, as are puppies, older animals or animals with respiratory problems.

Signs of heat stroke

The signs that can be observed suggesting that it is heat stroke are:

- an increase in respiratory rate

- intense panting

- drool

- decreased alertness

- then a reduction.

The animal may be hot to the touch (40°C - 45°C), have bright red mucous membranes and may lose consciousness.

>>> We must act quickly.

What can/must be done?

After placing the dog in a cooler place, in the shade for example, you must cool the dog GRADUALLY; we will start by wetting the neck (centers of thermoregulation), the pads and then the rest of the body.

!!! DO NOT immerse the dog in ice water as this will have the opposite effect; a peripheral vasoconstriction will be created which prevents the blood vessels from evacuating heat and the body temperature will continue to rise.

You can also put a survival blanket, silver side out.

>>> You must of course take the dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible but it is preferable to have cooled it at the first signs of hyperthermia to prevent it from getting worse during transport and being fatal for the animal.

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page