With summer in full swing and warmer temperatures out, it’s essential to be aware of how your dog is coping with the heat. Not to worry! Here’s what you need to know about heat stroke in dogs so that you can keep your pup safe.

#1: Dogs can’t adequately cool themselves through sweating.

Dogs are unable to adequately cool their body temperature through sweating. Instead, they will attempt to cool themselves by panting. When a dog is left in a hot environment for too long, her body temperature rises, and heat exhaustion or heat stroke can occur.

#2: Heat stroke can often be blamed on a dog owner’s actions.

Heat stroke in dogs commonly occurs when owners leave their dogs alone in vehicles and when dogs are left outdoors without access to shade and/or cool water.

#3: Certain types of dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke.

Some dogs are prone to developing heat stroke, including:

  • Overweight or obese dogs
  • Senior dogs
  • Brachycephalic breeds—”flat-faced” dogs, like bulldogs, pugs, and boxers
  • Dogs with thick fur
  • Dogs suffering from medical conditions, including laryngeal paralysis

#4: Dogs will show signs of heat stroke.

Dogs suffering from heat stroke may exhibit:

  • Excessive panting and/or drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Reddened gums

#5: You can help a dog suffering from heat stroke.

If you notice signs of heat stroke in your dog, you must take immediate action by following these steps:

  • Remove your dog from the hot environment.
  • Take your dog’s temperature. The temperature of a pet experiencing heat exhaustion will be over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature over 106 degrees Fahrenheit can indicate heat stroke.
  • Using a spray bottle or wet towels, apply cool (not ice-cold) water to your pet’s fur, focusing on the areas around the neck, armpits, and abdomen.
  • Put your dog in your air-conditioned car and bring her to our office. Call us on the way so we can prepare for your visit.

#6: Veterinary care is necessary when a dog experiences heat stroke.

Even if your dog appears to recover after being cooled, heat stroke can cause brain swelling, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, changes in blood pressure, electrolyte imbalances, and abnormal blood clotting, so seek veterinary care immediately. Our team may recommend intravenous fluids, and we’ll monitor your dog for signs of these secondary complications.

Got questions or concerns about how to ensure a safe and fun summer for your four-legged friend? Contact us.