Preventing Heat Stroke in Dogs

by Dave

Preventing Heat Stroke in Dogs

The Dogs dos and Don’ts!

are at high risk of heat stroke when the weather or the indoor environment is too hot. This is due to their physiology. The symptoms of the condition and its progression can be life threatening. For all these reasons, you should know how to prevent heat stroke in dogs.

What is heat stroke and how is it caused? This condition occurs when the body of the dog is not cooling properly. Unlike humans, canines do not sweat. Minor sweating occurs only through their foot pads. They exchange warm air for cool air by panting.

A heat stroke may occur when the body temperature is close to the air temperature, as in this case no efficient cooling occurs. Basically, your pet is at risk when the temperature is as high as his body temperature. The normal body temperature for dogs is 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38 to 39 degrees Celsius).

How to prevent heat stroke in dogs?

Never leave your dog in an indoor or outdoor area with an air temperature greater than 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38 to 39 degrees Celsius). If you have to leave your pet outdoors for a while, you should ensure that he will stay in the shade. Keep a bowl of fresh cool water around, if appropriate.

Never leave your dog confined on asphalt and concrete surfaces on a warm day. These tend to heat up much more quickly than the air so they can cause a heat stroke even if the temperatures outdoors are not that high. You can leave your pet outdoors for a while, as highlighted earlier, but it is best for him to stay on a grassy surface in the shade.

Never leave your pet unattended in the car on a warm day. Cars are made from metal so they heat up extremely quickly even if they are left in the shade. Your pet can get heat stroke in seconds and fail to cool naturally before you get back to the car. Generally, leaving your dog unattended in a car poses the highest risk of heat stroke, so this is the most important of all rules that you should keep.

Never have your dog exercise in hot and humid weather. On hot days, you should leave exercise for the early morning and late evening. It is best to take your pet out before dawn and after sunset to be on the safe side. You should not encourage your pet to exercise too much even if the temperatures have fallen a bit and the sun is not shining. If you are jogging every day, for instance, you can readily have just walks in the morning or in the evening when the weather is hot.

Never muzzle your dog when taking him out on a hot day and when using the blow dryer. If your pet must wear a muzzle when you take him out, it is best to wait for the evening when the weather is cooler. Alternatively, you can let your pet play in the yard a bit. The issue with blow drying can be solved effectively as well. Instead of muzzling your pet, you can readily put him in his create to blow dry his coat.

Always carry water with you when you take your dog outside on a warm day. You can readily carry a special bottle for your pet with you. It is a good idea to get mineral water suitable for pets as it contains electrolytes that are effective for preventing dehydration and consequently heat stroke. Give your dog some water on regular intervals.

Ensure that your car is well ventilated and the temperature inside is cool before getting your pet inside for a trip. You may have your dog board the vehicle a few minutes after you have started the engine. If you plan to take your pet on a long trip, it is a good idea to cover the car windows with some temporary shades that are simple to install and to remove. Remember to keep the temperature inside the car cool and to give your dog water from time to time.

Use cool pads to keep your dog cool in hot weather. This is a really effective approach for preventing heat stroke in dogs, especially if there is no air conditioning inside or you have to leave your pet outdoors for a while. You can readily put a cool pad in your pet’s create at home, when you have to keep him outside for a short time and when you are on the road.

Take special care of dogs from brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldog, Pug and Pekingese. Canines from these breeds have greater predisposition to heat stroke so they require more attention. Keep all of the dos and don’ts described above more strictly, if you have a pet from any of these breeds.

Take additional measures for keeping your pet cool such as putting ice in the room, if it is not air conditioned. Just do not give your pet ice cubes as this can be dangerous. You can spray your dog with water to protect him from heat stroke, provided that you have not used this method for punishment. Give your pet more rest after exercise. Generally, try to reduce his exercise to a minimum on hot days.

What do you do if your dog gets heat stroke?

Gasping and difficulty breathing are the most common symptoms of heat stroke. Red tongue and gums and thick saliva are other worrying signs. Your pet may vomit as well.

Take your dog’s rectal temperature to ensure that it is heat stroke and not something else. If the temperature is higher than 104 F (40 C), you should start cooling your pet immediately. Remove your pet from the source of heat and start spraying him with a hose.

Alternatively, you need to immerse him in the bath tub or kitchen sink filled with cool (not cold) water. Keep him in the water for two minutes. After taking him out of the tub, you can place the dog in front of a cooling fan and apply some ice packs to the growing area.


Robby Davis owns a pet insurance comparison site in the UK and enjoys writing blogs about animals. We also run a kennel so we know a lot about domestic cats, dogs, rabbits etc.

Our blog writing and understanding of animals really helps our clients and the day to day running of our business. We keep all sorts of animals but mainly Dogs and cats. We also advise our clients on the best pet insurance available for their animals. And give guidance on how to keep them in good shape.

Also you might need to let your dog insurance company know if there are any major issues as unreported conditions could invalidate your insurance policy.


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