July 17, 2018

Preventing Heat Stroke in the Dog Days of Summer

Dogs overheat much quicker than humans because they can’t sweat.  Instead, they expel heat through the pads of their paws and by panting.  If dogs are left in hot conditions for too long they can very quickly begin to suffer from heat stroke.

Signs of heat stroke:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive saliva
  • Lethargy/weakness
  • Seizures
  • Blue/purple gums


Preventing heat stroke:

Keep your dog indoors, especially during the hottest part of the day.  If a dog must be left outside, they need access to plenty of shade and lots of cool fresh water. Avoid concrete and blacktops – if it is too hot for you to walk barefoot then it is too hot for your dog!

NEVER leave your dog unattended in a vehicle. On an 85-degree day it takes only 10 minutes for the interior of your parked care to climb to 104 degrees!

What to do if you suspect heat stroke:

If you suspect your dog has heat stroke, get them into the shade as quickly as possible and offer them fresh water. Apply cool wet towels on their head, neck, and feet.  Avoid using very cold water (like from a hose) as this can cause your dog to shiver, which may elevate their body temperature.

Mild cases of overheating can be handled at home, but if your dog is suffering from heat stroke, get them to the veterinarian as quickly as possible where intravenous fluids and oxygen will be used to help cool your dog down and stabilize their internal organs.

The summer months are a great time to enjoy the many adventures Wisconsin has to offer – just be sure to keep your pups cool, hydrated, and happy.