Heatstroke can be the serious and often fatal result of a dog's prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Below are the signs of heatstroke and the actions you should take if your dog appears to be overheated.

Early Stages

  • Bright red gums and tongue
  • Excessive drooling
  • Heavy panting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance

Advanced Stages

  • Labored, noisy breathing
  • Lethargy, unwillingness to move
  • Shock
  • Uncontrollable urination or defecation
  • White or blue gums

Cool Down Tips

If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool the dog down:

  • Allow the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water.
  • Apply ice packs to the groin area.
  • Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog's paw pads.
  • Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes.

Do not cool your dog down too rapidly, as you could force them to go into shock! Check your dog's temperature regularly during this process. Once the dog's temperature has stabilized at between 100 to 102 degrees, you can stop the cool-down process. 

If you cannot get the dog cooled down and you begin to see signs of advanced heatstroke, take the dog to the veterinarian immediately.