During a heat crisis, the goal is always to decrease the dog’s body temperature to 103° F in the first 10-15 minutes. Once 103° F is reached, you must stop the cooling process because the body temperature will continue to decrease and can plummet dangerously low if you continue to cool the dog for too long.
Even if you successfully cool your pet down to 103° F in the first 10-15 minutes, you must take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible because consequences of heat stroke will not show up for hours or even days. Potential problems include abnormal heart rhythms, kidney failure, neurological problems and respiratory arrest.
It is important to know if your pet is predisposed to dog heat stroke, which is true of dogs with short snouts such as bulldogs, pugs and many other breeds. Other common causes of heat stroke include: a previous episode of heat stroke, leaving a dog in a parked car, excessive exercise in hot, humid weather (this may be exercise that your dog can usually handle but not in warmer weather), lack of appropriate shelter outdoors, thicker-coated dogs in warm weather and underlying disease such as upper airway, heart of lung disease.