General Health, Seasonal Challenges

Heat Stroke in Dogs – Awareness is Critical!

heat stroke in dogs awareness is critical

Summer is fast approaching, and with it, lots of fun activities outdoors. However, the seasonal heat can be a serious danger for your dog! Even though technically the “dog days of summer” run from July 12 through August 30, we live in Florida, and it’s already been 90 degrees many days! It’s time to step up our safety awareness so we recognize heat stroke in dogs.

I know, I know – you’ve heard this before, and honestly, you can never hear this information too many times, or be too aware. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can tragically sneak up on you and your pet. These are serious issues that can lead to severe medical complications. They can also quickly become life-threatening for your four-legged best friend!

70 degrees is even too hot to leave a dog in a car!

Temp outside

  • 75
  • 77
  • 81
  • 90
  • 94

Temp Inside Car

  • 118
  • 123
  • 138
  • 143
  • 145

Leaving a window cracked or open just doesn’t make a difference. Chances are there isn’t a hefty breeze that will be blowing through your hot car. Just don’t leave your dog alone in your car – period.

Different dogs become overheated at different exertion rates. The breeds that are most susceptible are ones with short snouts like Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers or dogs with heavy coats. That said, any dog can succumb to the heat, especially if they have weight or respiratory issues, are a little older, or not used to the outdoors. Some pups can run into trouble even while jumping in the water and swimming.

Here’s the bottom line – dogs sweat differently from humans. They lower their internal temperature by panting through their mouths and to an extent, sweating through their paws. They don’t sweat through their skin as we do.

Please be vigilant and keep a sharp eye out for these symptoms of heat stroke in dogs:

  • Very heavy panting with mouth full open, tongue may be lagging to the side
  • Dark or bright red tongue and gums
  • Sticky or dry tongue and gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Frequent breaks lying down
  • Fast irregular heartbeat
  • Temperature over 104 degrees – 110 degrees can be fatal

After time in the heat, these could be delayed signs of heat stroke in dogs:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Stumbling
  • Seizures


We’re not trying to be melodramatic. Sad to say, delay in recognizing these symptoms could impact your dog’s health for the rest of his life or —- he could die! No kidding!

Should you notice your pup simply panting rapidly or behaving abnormally in any manner, it could be heat exhaustion.

  • Get him into a cooler place. A shaded area with a fan directed toward him can help.
  • Put his feel in cool (not cold) water or cover them with a cool cloth. No ice or extremely cold water! Although the colder the better may seem logical at first thought, extreme cold actually constricts surface blood vessels, trapping heat in the body and worsening the situation.
  • Cotton balls soaked in rubbing alcohol applied to the skin of the stomach can be cooling. Don’t allow him to lick the rubbing alcohol, of course.
  • Don’t force him to drink.
  • Check his temperature initially and every 10 – 15 minutes.

Once his temperature reaches 103°F you can stop cooling and consider seeking medical care, especially if your dog was exposed to prolonged heat or if the initial temperature reading was greater than 105 degrees. A proactive decision on your part may literally save his life!

Check out some sensible (and innovative) ways to manage heat challenges and avoid heat stroke in dogs here~

Heat is tolerated differently by each of us, both canine and human. Make this summer the best ever by practicing heat safety awareness for the whole family.

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