Tips on How to Recognize and Avoid Heat Stroke 


Did you know that the dog-days of summer can be deadly to your dog?  As the temperature and humidity rises, so does the occurrence of heat stroke.  While you may think your dog can handle the heat, companion dogs are not like wolves in the wild.  They are domesticated and that means they are not equipped to handle extreme temperatures.

Sun and humidity can be a recipe for disaster for you and your dog alike.  Unlike you, your dog only sweats through his paws and it is minimal and that.  He will pant to cool himself off but in extreme temperatures or high humidity, panting is not effective.  Puppies and older dogs have an even harder time cooling off in extreme temperatures thereby making them even more susceptible to heat stroke.

Initial Signs of Heat Stroke:

  • Panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bright red tongue and mucous membranes
  • Thick saliva
  • Vomiting
  • Staring or glazed over eyes

Rectal temperature of over 103 degrees

After shock sets in:

  • Gray lips and mucous membranes
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

If your dog exhibits signs of heat stroke, he must be cooled down immediately.  Bring him into an air conditioned building.  Cool him off by wetting his paws with cool water and placing him in front of a cool fan.  Then, alternate by placing him in a tub of cool (not ice cold) water.  Continue this process until his rectal temperature measures 103 degrees.  Notify your vet and seek medical attention as soon as possible.  There are complications associated with heat stroke and your dog must be examined.


  • Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather.
  • Don’t let your dog exercise in the extreme heat and humidity.
  • Never muzzle your dog in extreme heat.
  • Do not let your groomer muzzle your dog and then put him under the hair dryer.
  • Never confine your dog outside without shade and fresh water.
  • If your dog is feverish or has a history or heat stroke or seizures, take extra steps to keep him cool.

5 thoughts on “Tips on How to Recognize and Avoid Heat Stroke”

  1. Thank you for sharing this information. I don’t know if you’ve seen them, but they actually make placards for cars that indicate when it’s too hot to leave your dog alone in the car.

    We must always remember that if we are hot, our furry friends are likely hot, too. I keep my dog indoors during the hottest part of the day, and we take walks when it is a little cooler.

  2. One thing that we did before this summer started was grooming the dog. We cut off the fur to hopefully decrease the excessive heat kept inside. Combined with enough water and shade (we don’t allow her outside a lot lately), Sid is safe from heat stroke this far.

  3. When Louie starts panting, I know it’s time to get him inside. Shitzu’s are more indoor dogs, but he does need to get his exercise. I also take him to the groomer more frequently in the summer than the winter.

  4. Great to know about this. I never experienced having a pet dog that had a heat stroke. I don’t want to experience that so I’m glad to have read this short but informative article.

  5. I love this article. It’s great to have a piece like this out here that, if it saves just one dog, it’s well worth it. I think it is imperative for owners to have one of those portable, blow-up dog bowls handy at all times so they can give their dog water in something that the dog can comfortably and substantially drink out of during hot weather (as opposed to lapping in frustrated futility at a water hose… although that’s obviously better than nothing), although it’s best to have the dog in a cool area and not out in extreme heat. And, like you said here, people should not muzzle their dogs when it’s hot outside!!
    Some people want to have their dogs with them while they are out at the beach on a hot day, or at the park or someplace like that. Being outside having fun in the sun is recreation for people, not so fun for dogs if people are not informed about proper dog care in hot weather.

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