How To Prevent Heat Stroke in Dogs

* by Casey Dickson

Whether you’re watching someone else’s pup or on an adventure with your own, keeping canines cool in the heat of the summer is a top priority. In a season full of dog-friendly lakeside lounging and strenuous hikes, it’s best to stay afloat of these key tips to prevent heat stroke.

Preventing the signs before they happen

If your dog has any of the following traits, be extremely careful in hotter climes. Make sure they have plenty of water, access to shade, and time to rest.

  • Long and/or thick coat
  • Short-nosed, flat-faced breeds—brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Chow Chows, and Chihuahuas suffer from airway troubles that make panting less effective at cooling them down in more extreme temperatures
  • Extreme age: young puppies and older dogs are more vulnerable to high heat conditions
  • Obesity or prior case of heart trouble

And be extra-vigilant in extreme heat and humidity—and not just from outdoor adventures. Make sure your four-legged pals aren’t enclosed in unventilated conditions such as hot cars, rooms, or grooming dryer cages.

And if Fido starts to show signs of heat stroke…

Which is generally thought to be a body temperature above 106° F. If left untreated, heat stroke (also known as a non-fever form of hyperthermia) in dogs can cause multiple organ dysfunction. The symptoms are plenty, but the most common are along these lines:

  • The more obvious include excessive panting and drooling, and abnormally small quantities of urine
  • Other signs include reddened gums and rapid heart rate and an irregular beat
  • At the worst phases of heat stroke, your dog may vomit blood, produce black stool or have a wobbly gait, known as ataxia. In these scenarios, take your dog to the nearest vet right away.

And to move from the grim to the more fun tips…here’s some pup-friendly summer fun that will keep energetic pups happy and healthy!

  • Find a dog park that’s attached to a beach and add an extra splash to rousing rounds of fetch
  • Keep chopped pineapple in the freezer for a sweet and icy treat that will quench summer heat better than the everyday bone or pig’s ear
  • Fill a kiddie pool with water for your own makeshift puppy pool, or turn on the sprinkler during at-home games of tug or fetch

As long as you’re careful, prepared and vigilant, there’s no reason to worry about Buddy getting sick from heat stroke. So enjoy all that summertime has to offer, with these easy-to-remember tips in mind.

* About the author: Written by Casey Dickson, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.