Symptoms and Treatment for Puppy Heat Stroke

Puppy on a pier

While both dogs and people like being outside in the summer, owners should exercise caution since can kill your puppy if it is not treated right away. Heatstroke can kill dogs in as little as 15 minutes when the body is unable to maintain a stable temperature.

Puppy cannot perspire to down. The normal dog temperature is maintained by evaporation from the tongue and fast exchange of outside air provided by panting. White or thin-fured puppies are particularly susceptible to sunburn. However, heatstroke occurs when the ambient air temperature (101 to 102.5 F) is equal to or higher than that of the pet.

Cars and Heatstroke

Cars become death traps in even relatively mild temperatures. On a 78-degree day, a shaded car reaches temperatures of 90 F. If parked in the sun, it will reach 160 F in minutes.

No one can ensure their safety by just leaving the air conditioner and automobile on. Even more security may not work. K-9 Officer "Hondo," a German shepherd dog, passed away from heatstroke after being left in the still-running, air-conditioned police car, according to a July 16, 2003, account in a Kansas City newspaper. When temperatures inside the cruiser reached hazardous levels, the "Hotdog System," a safety feature intended to protect K-9 cops, failed to activate the sirens, open the windows, or turn on the fan.

The computerized Hot-N-Pop system, which is able to detect whether the interior of the car has grown too hot for the K9 officer, is one of the most contemporary safety features now available for police dog protection. When that occurs, a giant window fan that draws in fresh air to assist the dog stay cool is turned on, and the system also automatically rolls down the back windows (which have metal screens to keep the dog from leaping out). The Hot-N-Pop also sounds the horn and emergency lights on the automobile and sends a signal to the canine handler's pager.


A body temperature of 104 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, a bright red tongue and gums, thick, sticky saliva, and fast panting are signs of moderate heatstroke. The pet's gums turn pale, it appears woozy, bleeds from the nose, has bloody vomiting and diarrhea, and eventually goes into comatose state when body temperatures rise beyond 106 F. Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), in which the red blood cells burst and are unable to deliver oxygen, can occur in these animals.


More crucial than transporting the animal to an emergency clinic is getting the fever down to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or below; nevertheless, severe cases DO require veterinarian care once first aid has been administered. Rectal thermometers typically only read temperatures up to 108 F, and dogs suffering from severe heatstroke may have body temperatures that spike to 110 F or higher.

Bring your puppy inside and put on a fan if you suspect moderate heatstroke so that the outer temperature is lower than its core and panting can help. Offer ice cubes to lick, cold water, Gatorade, or Pedialyte, and cover it with chilly damp cloths.

To treat a pet for severe heatstroke, fill a tub or sink with cool water from the hose. Place ice packs (bags of frozen peas work well) where there are significant blood arteries in its "armpit" and groin. The cold will cause the blood to become chilly, and as it circulates, it will gradually cool the entire body.

For even faster cooling, pets with temperatures of 107 F or higher require a cold water enema. If you don't have an enema bag, use a turkey baster or a contact solution bottle filled with icy water. Insert the tip into the rectum and gently squeeze to fill the cavity with fluid after coating it with petroleum jelly, K-Y, or vegetable oil. When it reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit, cover him in a towel and take him to the hospital's emergency department.

Prevention Is Key

Even better is to keep dogs indoors or to provide shade and plenty of cool water to in animals. Never leave dogs alone in vehicles; doing so is a recipe for catastrophe.