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German Wirehaired  Pointer Club of Southern California​

Hyperthermia and Heat Stroke

As summer sizzles in Southern California, we have to be extra vigilant about preventing our dogs from becoming over-heated. Hyperthermia, or abnormally elevated body temperature, occurs when a dog's body temperature reaches 103 degrees F, or higher. Heath stroke, a potentially lethal condition, occurs when dogs body temperature reaches 106 degrees.


  • Don't EVER leave your dog in a hot care. Even if it is 74 degrees outside, a car can reach 120 degrees within minutes.
  • Keep your dog in a cool place. Make sure your dog has access to shade. Avoid garages, and keep a fan or the air conditioning going inside.
  • Dogs that have had hyperthermia before, are at increased risk for it to happen again.
  • The best prevention is not to expose your dog to high temps, and to be aware of the signs of hyperthermia and heat stroke.

Signs of Hyperthermia

  • Panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling (ptyalism)
  • Increased body temperature - above 103° F (39° C)
  • Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
  • Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Shock
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, incoordinated or drunken gait or movement (ataxia)
  • Changes in mental status

Other Serious Consequences

  • Stoppage of the heart and breathing (cardiopulmonary arrest)
  • Fluid build-up in the lungs; sudden breathing distress (tachypnea)
  • Blood-clotting disorder(s)
  • Vomiting blood (hematemesis)
  • Passage of blood in the bowel movement or stool
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Small, pinpoint areas of bleeding
  • Generalized (systemic) inflammatory response syndrome
  • Disease characterized by the breakdown of red-muscle tissue
  • Death of liver cells
  • Unconsciousness in which the dog cannot be stimulated to be awakened


  • Cool your dog down by applying cold damp towels to the armpits, groion, ear area.
  • Don't put your dog in ice or offer ice. This can excessively lower body temperature and cause shock.
  • Offer water, but do not force water, as it can go into the lungs.
  • Get your dog to the vet ASAP, and call ahead, letting them know you are on the way.

Click here for more information about hyperthermia.