Definition of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke, also called non-pyrogenic hyperthermia, is an elevation of a dog’s core body temperature due to internal production of excess heat, exposure to high environmental temperatures or failure of its body to disseminate heat properly. The normal temperature range in dogs is between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Dogs don’t tolerate high environmental temperatures well because they don’t sweat. Dogs dissipate body heat by panting, which helps them bring in cooler air from the outside. When external temperatures are higher than a dog’s body temperature, even panting can’t cool it down. Dogs with heat stroke become increasingly restless and uncomfortable as their temperature rises. They pant, have trouble breathing and become weak. Eventually, they lie down and slip into a coma. By this point, death is imminent unless the dog receives immediate aggressive medical attention. Unfortunately, many owners don’t notice the signs of heat stroke until it is too late.