Regardless of where you live, summer is a time of renewal, relaxation, and celebration. But while we humans have plenty of ways to have fun and cool down, not all of them are so dog-friendly. In fact, if they get hot enough and are unable to cool down, they can end up dealing with the symptoms of heat stroke, which can be deadly if not carefully monitored. If you want to have a safe, fun summer with your pup, here’s a guide on how you can avoid having a dog with heat stroke on your hands this summer.

Dog With Heat Stroke: Panting Dog

What Is Heat Stroke and Why Is It So Dangerous for Dogs?

Heat stroke or hyperthermia occurs when an animal gets too hot and is unable to regulate its body temperature. Heat stroke is a major problem for dogs because they are more sensitive to heat than we are. When things get too hot for us, we’re able to sweat to cool ourselves down and cope with high temperatures. Unfortunately, dogs can only pant in order to cool themselves down. Without any other defense mechanisms, they can quickly become overheated in the right combination of elements. As you’ll soon find out, a dog with heat stroke is never a good thing.

What Are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke?

It’s important to notice the symptoms of heat stroke as soon as possible in order to avoid a more serious problem as they continue to be exposed to heat. Some of the symptoms that you’ll see in a dog with heat stroke include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • A dry nose
  • Elevated heart rate
  • A change in the color of their gums
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Signs of fatigue
  • Diarrhea with blood or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle tremors

Each one of these symptoms is serious and need to be acted upon immediately. If your dog shows concerning symptoms like a loss of consciousness, seizures, or any other major symptoms that clearly indicate a severe case of heat stroke, don’t wait. Take them to the vet immediately as heat stroke can cause major damage to the body’s organs and induce bleeding.

What Do I Do If I Think My Dog Has Heat Stroke?

The biggest mistake that dog owners will make is believing that home remedies will be enough to keep their dogs safe. However, even if you’re able to cool your dog down, getting in contact with your vet is always essential as you never know what type of continued damage is taking place. So, while we make a few of the recommendations below to help you cool your dog down if you notice symptoms, these are by no means a suitable replacement for a trip to the vet.

So, what are you to do if you believe that you have a dog with heat stroke?

  1. Bring your dog to a cool place (inside the home is the best place, if possible)
  2. If you have a thermometer with you, take your dog’s temperature. If it’s above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, use cool water and either hose your dog down or use a wet towel or sponge to apply the water across their body. Once they reach 103 degrees (or if they were already less than 105 degrees), take them to the vet as this is a critical point that needs to be treated immediately.
  3. Along with patting them down with cool water, place them in front of a fan and offer them cool (remember, not cold) water to help stabilize them.

There are a number of complications that a dog with heat stroke could be dealing with after being overheated for an extended period of time, which is why it’s important to get them to the vet as soon as possible even if you could get their temperature down on your own. The sooner you can get them help, the better the outcome is likely to be!

The Best Way to Deal With Heat Stroke? Prevention!

The biggest goal you should have as a dog owner this summer is to make sure you never have a dog with heat stroke to begin with. The good news is that there are plenty of helpful tips to help you develop a better prevention plan. A few tips to take away from this guide are:

  • Always have cool water nearby so that you can keep your dog hydrated in the summer sun.
  • If you’re outside with your pup, always have a shaded, cool area where they can go to cool off.
  • Never leave your dog inside of a warm car.
  • Keep your house at a cool temperature so they can cool off inside if it’s starting to get too hot.
  • Avoid spending extended periods of time outside during the warmest parts of the day, especially if your dog is running around and playing.

As long as you remain vigilant and do your best to avoid exposing your dog to high temperatures for longer than they need to be (for example, letting them out to take a quick potty break), you and your pup should be fine.

To more experienced dog owners, avoiding conditions that can lead to a dog with heat stroke is something that can seem quite obvious. But for new owners who may have decided to adopt their first pup during the pandemic, they may not have the experience or knowledge yet to know just how sensitive dogs can be to heat (especially if they have certain at-risk breeds like pugs).

If you’re looking forward to an amazing summer with your dog, use the guide above to learn more about what heat stroke looks like in dogs and how you can take the steps necessary to keep them happy and healthy moving forward.