Pet Care 

Puppies can get heatstroke symptoms

What to look for and when to apply first aid?

Dogs and humans both enjoy the summer, but owners need to be aware that heatstroke could cause death in your dog without providing immediate first aid. Heatstroke is when the body cannot maintain a temperature within a safe range. It can kill pets in 15 minutes.

Puppies cannot cool off if they are not sweating. The dog’s temperature will stay the same if kept cool by its body. Sunburn can also occur in puppies with thin fur. Heatstroke occurs when the temperature outside is higher than the pet’s (101-102.5 F)

Cars and heatstroke

Even in mild temperatures, cars can become death traps. A shaded vehicle can reach temperatures of 90 F on a 78-degree day. It will heat up in just minutes if parked in the sun.

Safety is not guaranteed if you leave your car running and the air conditioner on. Extra protection may fail. A Kansas City newspaper reported on July 16th that K-9 Officer Hondo, a German shepherd puppy, had died from heatstroke while being left in the air-conditioned police cruiser. “Hotdog System”, which is a safety system that protects K-9 officers, did not turn on the sirens or open windows when the temperature inside the cruiser was dangerously high.

The computerized HOT-N-Pop system is one of the best available police dog safety. It can sense when the vehicle’s interior is too hot for the K9 officer. The system will automatically lower the windows at the rear (windows are covered with metal screens to keep the dog from jumping out) and then activate large fans to bring fresh air into the vehicle to cool it down. Hot-N-Pop activates the car’s emergency lights and horn and sends a signal to the handler.


Mild heatstroke symptoms include a high body temperature (104-106 F), a reddish tongue and gums, thick sticky liquid, rapid panting, and a fever of more than 105 F. If the body temperature is higher than 106 F, the pet’s skin becomes pale. It may become dizzy or have bloody vomitingdiarrhea, and eventually become comatose. Disseminated intravascular coagulation can occur in these pets. This is when the red blood cells become too small to carry oxygen.


It is important to get the temperature to 104 F or lower than rushing your pet to an emergency clinic. However, severe cases require veterinary attention after you have given first aid. Rectal thermometers typically register temperatures as low as 108 F. Pets suffering from severe heatstroke might have body temperatures that are higher than this, such as 110 F.

If your dog suffers from mild heatstroke, you can bring it into an air-conditioned area and turn on the fan. The outside temperature should be lower than your body temperature. Panting and other actions such as panting may be possible. You can give your puppy ice cubes or Pedialyte, Gatorade, or water to lick. Wrap it in cold towels.

If your pet is suffering from severe heatstroke, you can soak it in cold water, either in the tub, sink or through the hose. Ice packs (bags made of frozen peas are a good choice) should be placed in the pet’s “armpit” or groin area where there are many blood vessels. The cold chills the blood and cools it as it circulates.

A cold water enema is necessary for pets with high temperatures (>107F) to speed up cooling. If you don’t own an enema bag, you can use a turkey baster to cool your pet. Use petroleum jelly, KY or vegetable oil to grease the tip and place it in the rectum. Then squeeze the fluid into the cavity by gently pressing down. Wrap him in a towel until his temperature drops below 104 F.

Prevention Is Key

It is even better to prevent heatstroke for pets by providing shade, lots of cool water, and keep them inside. It’s dangerous to leave your pets in cars unattended.

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