Beware of Heat Stroke in Dogs and Cats!

Beware of Heat Stroke in Dogs and Cats

Dogs don’t sweat like humans, as their only sweat glands are on the pads of their feet. When a dog’s body overheats, heat stroke happens. Know and recognize the signs, so that you can save your best friend’s life.

It’s always hot and humid in Indonesia, which poses a risk to the health of our canine and also feline friends. Snub-nosed and short-nosed breeds, such as Pugs, Bulldogs of all kinds, Boxers, or Boston Terriers are especially vulnerable, because the anatomy of their facial constructions causes them to have breathing difficulties.

Although too many of us dogs are our kids, we have to know that dogs do not perspire the way humans do. The only sweat glands that they have are on the pads of their feet. Dogs pant to cool themselves. They also use a temperature exchange called convection to cool their skin. Both panting and convection cool the body by exchanging the warm body temperatures for the cooler air outside.

When a dog can’t regulate his/her own body temperature anymore, heat stroke happens.

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Signs of Heat Stroke:

  1. Increased heart rate
  2. Excessive panting
  3. Increased salivation
  4. Bright red tongue
  5. Red or pale gums
  6. Thick, sticky saliva
  7. Depression
  8. Weakness
  9. Dizziness
  10. Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  11. Diarrhea

Once you recognize these symptoms, react quickly, because seizures, coma, cardiac arrest, and even death can occur.


Remove your dog from the hot area immediately. Prior to taking him/her to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by wetting him / her thoroughly with cool water (for very small dogs, use lukewarm water), then increase air movement around him / her with a fan.

Do not use very cold water, which can be counterproductive!


By Andrea Deierlein

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