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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Heatstroke Know The Signs And What To Do

Heatstroke: Know The Signs And What To Do

PetSmart Chris Brownlow / myPetSmart.com

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If the temperature is hot enough to make you sweat, it’s hot enough for your pet to suffer from heatstroke. According to Dr. Robyn Jaynes, PetSmart’s vet expert, heatstroke occurs when your pet’s body temperature, normally 102 degrees, rises to 105 to 110 degrees. It can cause lethargy, coma, organ failure and death. Learn how to spot the signs and what do to if your pet is suffering from heatstroke.

The signs

All pets are susceptible to heatstroke, but puppies under 6 months of age, pets that are older, overweight, or ill and brachycelphalic breeds with short heads and flat muzzles like Pugs and English Bulldogs are especially at risk. Look for:

  • Rapid panting
  • Gasping
  • Wide eyes
  • Excessive salivating
  • Bright red gums
  • Loss of mobility (staggering, stumbling)
  • Weakness
  • Collapse

What to do

If your pet is suffering from heatstroke, his body temperature must be brought back to normal gradually to avoid shock, Dr. Jaynes says.

  • Immediately discontinue activity and find a cool place for him to lie down. (If you're outside and not close to an indoor facility, shade may be your best option).
  • Instead place him on his side and thoroughly wet him with room-temperature water, especially the belly and inside the legs. Do not use cold water. Make sure the water reaches his skin and not just the fur. Wetting the pads of the feet with water is helpful as well.
  • Gradually switch to cooler water.
  • Seek veterinary attention immediately. Cooling efforts should be continued on the way to the vet.


Related: Ways To Keep Your Dog Cool And Prevent Heatstroke

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