How Do I Know If My Pet Is Suffering From A Heat Stroke?


Heat stroke is a condition of hyperthermia (high core body temperature above normal range) resulting in tissue heat injury. Heat stroke occurs when heat temperature exceeds the body ‘s capacity to lose heat. 

Heat stroke is a very dangerous, life-threatening condition: it can cause damage to the internal organs of your pet, often to the point that it stops working and can be easily fatal-it requires immediate treatment.

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Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Pets

Heat strokes can range from mild to life threatening. High body temperature kills cells and triggers systemic or whole body inflammatory reactions, destroying vital organs, including the liver, kidneys and brain. Symptoms include the following:

  • Disorientation and restlessness 
  • Elevated heart rate 
  • Muscle tremor 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Seizures 
  • Collapse 
  • Excessive breathing or panting: although common in dogs, panting is uncommon and unusual in cats, but can occur with heat stroke

What You Must Do If Your Pet Has Heat Stroke?

Call your veterinarian or the closest emergency animal hospital to inform them that you are on your way. Drive with the windows open and the air conditioner on the way to the vet.

As long as you can get to the vet, be sure:

  • Quickly remove the pet from the hot environment.
  • Do not give the pet aspirin to lower its temperature and can cause other problems.
  • Encourage your pet to drink as much cool water as they want, without pressuring them to drink. 
  • Cool your pet with cold water by putting a damp towel on their back.

Preventing Heat Stroke In Pets

There are ways you can avoid heat stroke from arising in the first place. Never leave your pet alone in the car on a warm day, no matter if the windows are open. Even if the outside weather is not exceptionally hot– temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels in a matter of minutes.

  • Stop physical activity on hot days. 
  • When outside, look for shady places. 
  • Keep cold and fresh water with you at all times. 
  • Some types of dogs are more susceptible to heat, particularly obese dogs and short-nosed breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs. Use extreme caution when certain dogs are exposed to sun.

Some pets will fully recover from heat stroke if detected early. Others suffer from irreversible organ damage and need professional treatment. Unfortunately, many pets do not survive a heat stroke. Prevention is the secret to keeping your pet healthy in hot weather. 


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