Heat Stress (body temp of 103 or higher) can occur in all dogs (very rare in cats) but most commonly occurs in long/thick haired dogs or brachycephalic breeds (boxer/bulldog/shih tzu). Heat Stress can affect any age but tends to occur in young dogs more than older dogs.
Increased body temperature - above 103° F
Reduced urine production
Sudden kidney failure
Rapid heart rate
Irregular heart beats
Heat stress can be a result from excessive environment heat and humidity or from excessive exercise. Heat stress can happen even if your pet is in the shade with access to water! While there is currently no genetic reason, we tend to see more heat stress in cattle working breeds - likely because of the intense drive these animals have.
Age extremes (very young, very old)
Poor heart/lung conditioning
Thick hair coat
What to do
1) Cool your pet immediately by apply cool (not cold!) water to their coat/skin.
**Studies show that this improves your pet's survival rate by 50% **
2) Call the closest emergency veterinary service to alert them that you are coming in.
3) Take your pet directly to the vet - use the AC in the vehicle to help further cool your pet.
**Even if your pet is looking fine after being cooled, bring him in! Heat Stress can lead to organ failure!
Cool your pet immediately but do not over cool him/her. Do not apply ice or cold water to cool them as this can lead to blood vessel constriction. Watch your pet closely - after suffering from heat stress your pet may seizure or act drunk - this can lead to drowning if placed in a pool/tub to cool down! Avoid taking your pet out during the heat of the day. Always offer FRESH water multiple times per day. Do not leave your pet in areas that tend to get hot - cars, garages etc - keep them inside! Over heating can happen in the shade with a bowl of water in front of them! And remember, hot sidewalks burn your pet's feet too! Always bring your pet to a vet if you suspect they overheated. Heat stress can lead to blood clotting disorders, organ failure, and death!