Call us today: (954) 567-2500
Call us today: (954) 567-2500

Heatstroke in Dogs: An Essential Guide from Family Pet Medical Center

Heatstroke in Dogs

Heatstroke in Dogs Overview

Heatstroke in dogs is a critical condition that arises when a dog’s body temperature exceeds a safe range, usually above 103°F (39.4°C). Unlike humans, dogs have limited ability to regulate their body temperature, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. This condition is not only distressing but can be fatal if not treated promptly.


The primary cause of heatstroke in dogs is prolonged exposure to high temperatures, particularly in environments with inadequate ventilation or humidity. This can happen in enclosed spaces like cars or backyards without shade. Other contributing factors include vigorous exercise in hot weather, lack of access to water, or a dog’s physical characteristics, such as being a brachycephalic breed (like Bulldogs or Pugs).


Recognizing the signs of heatstroke is crucial for any dog owner. Symptoms may include:

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Weakness or lethargy.
  • Bright red, gray, purple, or bluish gums.
  • Seizures or unconsciousness in severe cases.


At Family Pet Medical Center, our skilled Fort Lauderdale veterinarians diagnose heatstroke through a combination of clinical examination and specific tests. These may include checking the dog’s temperature, blood tests to assess organ function, and imaging tests to evaluate any internal damage.


Treatment for heatstroke in dogs must be immediate and may involve:

  • Moving the dog to a cooler environment.
  • Applying cool water to the skin and using fans to promote evaporation.
  • Providing cool, not cold, drinking water.
  • Intravenous fluids and electrolytes to stabilize the dog.

Advanced cases might require more intensive care, such as oxygen therapy or medications to prevent or treat secondary complications like kidney failure or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).


The outcome for a dog with heatstroke depends on the severity and the speed of treatment. Mild cases can recover fully with prompt and appropriate care. However, severe cases can have lasting health effects or may be fatal. Early recognition and treatment are vital for a positive outcome.


Prevention is the best approach to protect your dog from heatstroke:

  • Avoid leaving your dog in a parked car, even with the windows open.
  • Ensure access to shade and fresh water at all times.
  • Limit exercise during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Use cooling vests or mats for dogs prone to overheating.

Family Pet Medical Center: Your Trusted Fort Lauderdale Emergency Vet

At Family Pet Medical Center, we understand the bond you share with your furry family members. Our team of compassionate and experienced veterinarians is dedicated to providing the highest level of care for your pets. Whether you need an emergency vet in Fort Lauderdale for a heatstroke situation or regular vet services, our state-of-the-art facility and personalized approach ensure your pet receives the best possible care.

We encourage pet owners to be vigilant about heatstroke, especially in the warm climate of Fort Lauderdale. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, contact Family Pet Medical Center immediately. Our Fort Lauderdale emergency vet services are equipped to handle such situations promptly and efficiently.

For regular veterinary needs or emergency services, remember, Family Pet Medical Center is just a call away. We’re here to support the health and wellbeing of your pets, ensuring they enjoy a happy, healthy life with you.

Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Emergency Vet Office

If you’re in need of an emergency vet in Fort Lauderdale or looking for quality veterinary care for your beloved pet, don’t hesitate to reach out to Family Pet Medical Center. Contact us today for expert advice or to schedule an appointment. Your pet’s health is our top priority. Call us today at (954) 567-2500.

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