Dog and Puppy First Aid: Heat Stroke

Please note: Information in this post is not meant as a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult your veterinarian in an emergency.

The elevation of body temperature above normal is sometimes indicative of a fever, but it can also be associated with severe conditions such as heat stroke or heat prostration. Any time the body temperature is higher than 105.5 degrees, a true emergency exists.

See a vet right away!

What NOT to Do

  • Do not use cold water or ice for cooling.
  • Do not overcool the pet.
  • Do not attempt to force water orally.
  • Do not leave the pet unattended for any length of time.


Rapidly cooling the pet is extremely important. While ice or cold water may seem logical, its use is not advised. Cooling the innermost structures of the body will actually be delayed, as ice or cold water will cause superficial blood vessels to shrink, effectively forming an insulating layer of tissue to hold the heat inside. Tap water is more suitable for effective cooling.

Aly DelaCoeur, UW-AAB
Aly DelaCoeur, UW-AAB is one of the founders of Wag Enabled (originally Why Does My Dog). Aly has a certificate in applied animal behavior through the University of Washington and is a certified veterinary assistant and AKC Evaluator. She aims to provide an unbiased perspective on dog training by providing practical, intelligent, and caring advice for people to impart on their canine companions