Pet Health Hospital

Heat Stroke In Dogs

As the temperatures begin to rise in Las Vegas, pet owners must be more and more aware of the signs of heat stroke in dogs, as this condition can easily be fatal.  One of the most common causes of heat stroke in the Las Vegas area is dogs being left in hot cars (even for very short periods of time) as well as being left outside in years that have no shade or shelter.  Dogs cannot cool themselves by sweating the way humans do, and instead they pant in order to keep themselves cool.  In a stuffy car, even if the windows are cracked, the temperatures will go over 110 degrees on a day when it is 85 degrees outside, and on a typical 100 degree Las Vegas day the temperature inside the car will reach 140 degrees in less than 15 minutes.  This is enough to send completely healthy animals into cardiac arrest and heat stroke in a very short period of time, as they cannot effectively cool their bodies off in that environment.  We urge you to never leave your dog in the car when you are not also inside it, even for “only a moment.”  Additionally, we urge you to not leave your dog outside in the yard for any extended period of time in the Las Vegas summer, as temperatures are far too hot for most dogs to survive very long without shelter.

The following types of dogs are more prone to heatstroke, and cannot be left in the heat even as long as other types of dogs:

  • dogs with short snouts
  • fatter/heavy muscle dogs
  • long-haired breeds
  • old/young dogs
  • dogs with certain diseases/on certain medication

If you see a dog locked in a hot car, immediately call the police at 911 and request that they arrive immediately at the location.  The animal may go into heatstroke within minutes, so act quickly.  If you see an animal with the signs of heatstroke:

  • heavy panting
  • profuse salivation
  • rapid pulse
  • very red gums/tongue
  • lethargy
  • lack of coordination
  • reluctance/inability to rise after collapsing
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • loss of consciousness

Then immediately perform the following actions.  Get the animal into the shade and douse their body with cool (but not cold) water.  Allow them to drink small amounts of cool water, and continue dousing them until their breathing returns  to normal.  Immediately bring them to the nearest veterinarian or animal emergency room.

heat stroke in dogs