Veterinarian: Heat stroke in pets can happen extremely fast

Warning signs to watch out for to protect your pet
Posted at 11:28 PM, Jul 05, 2017

Panting is completely normal and a clear sign that a dog is hot and trying cool off.  But, panting can quickly lead to something a lot worse if warning signs aren’t noticed.

“Ten minutes can be too much,” Dr. Rizal Lopez said. Lopez is the Medical Director of the Tampa Bay SPCA. He said heat stroke deaths in dogs are rare, but can come on extremely fast. And if you notice your dog panting and then stop panting it could be too late.

“Certainly, panting is a big part of it so if a dog reaches the point of shock or a coma they would stop panting,” Lopez said. “Their gums might get really pale and tacky and stick to your finger when you push on them.  And, in some cases their tongue might turn bright red or purple depending on how well they are oxygenating. You might see vomiting or diarrhea. Those can happen very quickly as they are starting to go into heat stroke.”

The normal temperature for a dog runs between 100 and 102 degrees. 

On Saturday, a French Bulldog named Porscia died of a heat stroke. Porscia was getting boarded at Lucky Dog Daycare in South Tampa. The owners of the facility said the French Bulldog’s death was unacceptable and should have never happened. The dog’s owners also said their family dog’s death should have been prevented. Mia Norton said Porscia’s temperature was 109 degrees. Veterinarians said even temperatures of 106 to 107 can be deadly.


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If you suspect your dog is overheating take action immediately. 

“The key is actually not to use cold water, but actual tap water temperature, there is actually a troubling issue if you go with cold,” Lopez said. “Get your pet into air conditioning or use a fan to cool them off. If that doesn’t work take them to the emergency room.”